ALAMEDA, Calif. — Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer suffered cracked ribs and a bruised lung after a hard hit by Carolina linebacker Greg Hardy and will not play in the team's final game.
Who will start in Palmer's absence is uncertain. It’s possible that former Ohio State star Terrelle Pryor could get his first NFL start.
Matt Leinart took over after Palmer was knocked out of the game by the Panthers but struggled in his first extensive playing time this season. He completed 16 of 32 attempts for 115 yards, had several passes sail out of bounds, and threw a costly interception just before halftime.
Pryor made a brief appearance against Carolina and caught a 22-yard pass from Palmer after originally taking the snap and throwing to Palmer behind the line of scrimmage. Pryor was also in on two plays near the goal line, running for two yards and passing for five.
"We'll get both those guys reps in practice with the first team this week," coach Dennis Allen said Monday. "We're not ready to make that decision. We'll see how practice goes, and later in the week we'll be ready to name a starter."
That's a 180-degree turn from Allen's stance after the 17-6 loss to Carolina when he told reporters that Leinart would be the team's No. 2 quarterback behind Palmer. He also said of Pryor — a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft and the final player selected by former team owner Al Davis — that "we don't feel like he's ready to be the backup quarterback just yet."
Leinart certainly didn't do much to help his own standing, which might be why the Oakland coach is mulling a change.
The 10th overall pick in 2006, Leinart looked rusty while completing only 50 percent of his throws. Oakland drove down into the red zone twice with him at quarterback but settled for field goals both times. Leinart also threw an interception into triple coverage just before halftime with the Raiders trailing 7-3, and the Panthers converted the turnover into a touchdown that broke the game open.
With the exception of two plays, Pryor spent the second half on the sideline.
Oakland fans have chanted Pryor's name during home games this season and general manager Reggie McKenzie has said he wants to see Pryor play to further evaluate the quarterback's abilities. That could happen if Allen decides to give Pryor his first start.