Raiders hope Antonio Smith is healthy in time for some of OTAs

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Signing defensive lineman Antonio Smith was part of the Raiders’ plan to bring their defense back to respectability in 2014, but they’ll need to wait a little while before he’s able to fully participate in the team’s preparations for the coming season.

Smith injured himself weightlifting earlier this month and while we don’t know exactly how Smith was injured, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN reported a while back that he had to have surgery to correct the problem. General Manager Reggie McKenzie said at the time that Smith would be “fine,” and coach Dennis Allen provided a bit of an update while talking to reporters during the Raiders’ rookie minicamp.

“We’ll have to see how he responds,” Allen said, via CSNBayArea.com. “He’s been doing really well. We’re going to try and play that by ear. I’m hopeful we’ll have him out here for at least some of the OTAs or the [June 9-12 mandatory] minicamp.”

It doesn’t sound like there’s much concern that Smith’s injury is going to impact him during the season, which should mean that he’s playing a major role as an interior pass rusher up front for the Raiders. With Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley and rookie Khalil Mack also on the roster, that pass rush looks much better across the board as long as Smith and company can stay healthy.