Raiders coach Tom Cable said Monday that he is considering starting Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Gradkowski would be playing with a torn ligament in each knee, yet Cable still seems to consider him a better option than JaMarcus Russell, who was demoted to second string a month ago. Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, started the first nine games this season.
"Right now, it's about finding out where Bruce is," Cable said at his weekly news conference. "If, in fact, he's not ready to go, then how do we win the next three football games, period?"
Gradkowski has been the starter since Russell was benched Nov. 15. But Gradkowski likely won't be available against the Broncos as a result of the knee injuries he suffered in a 34-13 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
"At this point, we'll know come Wednesday," Cable said, "But it looks doubtful."
Gradkowski wasn't available for comment. He said Sunday that he wants to play against the Broncos and will do everything possible to make it a reality.
Cable said he is willing to wait until Wednesday before considering other options. Gradkowski played part of the first half with a torn ligament in one knee, so he has shown that it takes quite a bit to keep him off the field.
"I don't count myself out," Gradkowski said. "You never need surgery with MCLs. I'll try to get back, do whatever I can to get healthy fast."
Gradkowski can't heal quickly enough, as far as Cable is concerned. Otherwise, the coach's choices are Russell or No. 3 quarterback Charlie Frye, who still is seeking his first playing time of the season.
Russell was sacked six times in one half of action against Washington. He also had one pass intercepted and fumbled once. The Raiders' offense managed 39 yards on his watch.
"I'll do what's best for this team, what gives us the best chance to win" against the Broncos, Cable said.
Frye hasn't started a game since Oct. 12 last season, when he played for the Seattle Seahawks. He was traded to the Seahawks less than a week after making his lone 2007 start for the Cleveland Browns. He started 13 games in 2006.
Wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins said he and his teammates can't be consumed by the matter.
"It didn't matter who was back there throwing the ball," Higgins said. "It could be Coach Cable, it could be Al Davis, it could be anybody. It could be you. As a receiving corps, we go out there and our main job is to get where we're supposed to be. If the ball is not there, no matter who's throwing it, we're doing everything we can to catch the ball. No matter who's back there."
Running back Justin Fargas echoed the sentiment of his teammates, when he described how disappointing it was for Gradkowski to be hurt just as he was transforming the offense into a productive unit.
"Well, we were building something there," Fargas said, "But we can't let the momentum or fire be killed by that. We have to find a way to keep it going."
Notes: Tight end Zach Miller (concussion) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) are day-to-day, Cable said. Receiver/kick returner Nick Miller (shin) is expected to practice this week for the first time all season. However, he doesn't expect to play Sunday.