ALAMEDA Raiders defensive end Andre Carter was always taught to do everything on the field at full speed. Recovering from a torn quadriceps muscle required a bit more patience.
Nearly 10 months after being carted off the field in Denver, Carter plans to take the restraints off again in his 2012 regular-season debut. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Friday that Carter will be active for Oakland's game Sunday against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
How much the 12th-year pass rush specialist from Cal plays is uncertain, though Allen indicated he wouldn't limit Carter.
"It gives us a little bit more veteran leadership," Allen said. "He's a guy that understands how to do it, and he's done it at a high level. He's come in and tried to help the whole group. He's been a good addition for us."
Carter was signed on Sept. 26 to help a pass rush that has produced just three sacks in four games. The 33-year-old has 76 career sacks, including 10 last year with New England before he suffered the season-ending leg injury. The quadriceps muscle in Carter's left leg was torn so badly that he required surgery, followed by a grueling stretch of rehabilitation.
Oakland is 1-3 for the sixth time in eight seasons, with most of the problems coming on the defensive side. The Raiders are 25th overall, 27th against the pass. Part of that is because of injuries that have sidelined starting cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer.
Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey also is expected to play for the first time since suffering a concussion and neck strain after being knocked unconscious following a helmet-to-chin hit by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy on Sept. 23.
Defensive end Tommy Kelly returned to practice after injuring his foot Wednesday. Kelly is listed as questionable but is expected to play. Tight end Richard Gordon (hamstring) is out.
Jurisprudence Former Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith was ordered to stand trial in Los Angeles County for four murders.
Smith has already been tried for one of the killings: the 2008 death of Maurilio Ponce, a mechanic found stomped and shot along a California desert highway. A jury deadlocked in that case in April.
While awaiting retrial, Smith was charged with three more murders: the killing of two brothers in 1999 and another slaying in 2001. All four have been combined into one case.