NAPA, Calif. -- After spending his first two NFL seasons dealing with injuries to his toes, shoulder and knee, Darren McFadden was looking for a healthy start to the 2010 campaign.
Instead, he will have to sit and watch when the Oakland Raiders take the field for the first time in Thursday night's exhibition game at Dallas because of a tight left hamstring.
"It's very frustrating," McFadden said Tuesday. "I feel like I've been having a good camp. It happened. It's just something you have to deal with right now."
McFadden hurt his hamstring in practice Saturday morning when he tried to accelerate after slowing down. He immediately felt tightness so he pulled up to make sure the injury didn't get any worse.
McFadden said he wants to make sure he waits until the hamstring is completely healed before returning to the field so he doesn't have to deal with this throughout the entire season.
"It's one of those things, you don't want to be out there on it, make it any worse than what it is," he said. "You want to make sure it's all the way healthy before you do because it's a hamstring, something that can nag you for a whole year."
McFadden and Michael Bush are expected to share the bulk of the running duties this season so Bush will likely play most of the first quarter with the first-team offense in Dallas. Offseason acquisitions Michael Bennett and Rock Cartwright will get plenty of time after that to show what they can do.
McFadden has been plagued by injuries ever since the Raiders drafted him fourth overall in 2008. McFadden injured his right big toe in his second career game, hurting himself at the end of a 50-yard run at Kansas City. After returning from that injury, McFadden hurt a toe on the other foot and also dealt with a shoulder injury for much of his rookie season.
Last season, McFadden missed a month with a knee injury in the first half of the season and never found his form. He ran for 357 yards in 12 games, averaging only 3.4 yards per carry and scoring just one touchdown.
He has rushed for just 856 yards in 25 career games with a 3.9 yard-per-carry average as he has failed to develop into the big-play back he was in college at Arkansas. He has only one run of at least 20 yards since the second game of his rookie year.
McFadden is hoping for bigger success this season under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who has diversified the running game.
"He put a lot of different things in, a lot of different runs," McFadden said. "The last couple years we mostly ran outside zone, inside zone. He's added a lot of downhill runs and things for us. It's something that we're looking forward to."
The Raiders also are expected to be without receivers Chaz Schilens (left foot), Jacoby Ford (quadriceps) and Paul Hubbard (hamstring), quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski (groin) and Charlie Frye (right wrist), fullback Luke Lawton (concussion), and defensive end Jay Richardson (knee).
WR Jonathan Holland cleared waivers and was placed on injured reserve with a sprained right ankle.