ALAMEDA -- Darren McFadden was found Wednesday in the last place most Raiders fans would have expected.

On the practice field.

Sufficiently recovered from an ankle injury, McFadden is expected to play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.

"That's the direction we're looking at right now; we'll see how it goes this week," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.

Coming to the end of the six-year, $60 million contract he signed as the No. 4 pick of the 2008 draft, McFadden in some ways mirrors the 4-10 team he plays for, occasionally flashing brilliance but unable to finish.

McFadden went into the season with the seal of approval of general manager Reggie McKenzie, who shed the team of bloated salaries but said McFadden would be part of the plan going forward.

Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden (20) scores a touchdown against Pittsburgh Steelers’ Chris Carter (54) in the second quarter at the O.co
Oakland Raiders' Darren McFadden (20) scores a touchdown against Pittsburgh Steelers' Chris Carter (54) in the second quarter at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday, October 27, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Instead, McFadden, if he can stay healthy, will finish the season backing up Rashad Jennings, a former seventh-round draft pick who signed a one-year contract and was no lock to even make the team going into training camp.

In truth, other than 20 games in 2010 and 2011 under Hue Jackson, McFadden has been pedestrian at best, gaining 1,928 yards on 536 carries for an average of 3.6 yards per attempt.

Yet teammates and much of the fan base that still wears his No. 20 jersey choose to remember McFadden as the explosive runner he was under Jackson -- the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2010 and head coach in 2011 -- and as the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up at Arkansas.

In 2010 and '11, McFadden gained 1,771 yards on 336 carries, averaged 5.3 yards per attempt and led the NFL in rushing at the time of a Lisfranc injury early in the seventh game of the 2011 season.

"It means the world to us, to have our best player on the field," fullback Marcel Reece said. "You can't replace a Darren McFadden. You don't replace a Darren McFadden."

Having missed six games with hamstring and ankle injuries, McFadden has 365 yards on 103 carries and is third on the team in rushing behind Jennings (679) and quarterback Terrelle Pryor (527).

Asked if he will look back at 2013 as a lost season, McFadden said, "I feel that way, but at the same time there's nothing I can do about that. That time is gone. I can only move forward and deal with the things I have in front of me."

For his own peace of mind, McFadden is hoping for a chance to show the Raiders and as well as other teams he can still be explosive and productive.

"That's one of my things, finishing hard. I know once I'm out there playing hard, I know what I can do, so I don't let the other things creep into my mind."

Any speculation that McFadden would shut it down after the most recent injury was belied by his preparation and rehab schedule.

"He sits in our meeting rooms before his (meeting) even starts, so you see how hard he works and how bad he wants to get back," quarterback Matt McGloin said. "Hopefully we can get him back out there and it will give us a lot more confidence. Our running backs have done a great job, but it would be great to get Darren in that mix too."

McFadden has long been a fan favorite, but the frustration level among fans with the Raiders' record as well as his injury history has led to some scattered boos at O.co Coliseum and comments when he is out working in the community on behalf of the club.

"I guess it's mixed emotions, half and half," McFadden said. "I'm going to be the same person regardless. I'm going to go out there and do what I'm supposed to do in the community, do what I'm supposed to do on the field. I can't worry about what happened in the past; I can only deal with what's in the future."

  • Defensive tackle Vance Walker is still having concussion symptoms, did not practice and might not be available to face the Chargers. Others who did not practice included linebacker Miles Burris (ankle), free safety Charles Woodson (ribs), running back Jeremy Stewart (ankle) and guard Lucas Nix (wrist).

  • The Raiders announced the addition of three players to the practice squad -- linebacker Sam Montgomery, safety Kyle McCarthy and cornerback Johnny Adams.

    Montgomery was a third-round draft pick by Houston out of LSU who was cut from the Texans for violating a team rule.

    For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on Twitter at twitter.com/Jerrymcd.

    Promise unfulfilled

    Running back Darren McFadden has shown flashes of greatness in his six years with the Raiders but hasn't stayed healthy enough to provide stability at the position. Here are his career rushing stats:

    Year GP Att Yds TD
    2008 13 113 499 4
    2009 12 104 357 1
    2010 13 223 1,157 7
    2011 7 113 614 4
    2012 12 216 707 2
    2013 8 103 365 4