Jake Grove struggling to get in lineup.

Jake Grove struggling to get in lineup.

Jake Grove left the Raiders lineup on Oct. 3 listed as the team's starting center. But since returning from surgery to fix the damaged cartilage in his right knee, the second-year veteran has been unable to get back into Oakland's lineup.

Adam Treu, the team's long-snapper and the senior member of the offensive line, has been playing so well that the coaching staff has been hesitant to make a change. The Raiders offense produced its two highest-scoring games of the season with Treu at center, putting up 72 points and 740 yards in wins over Buffalo and Tennessee.

So while Treu and the rest of the offense plays, a now healthy Grove spends his time on the sidelines.

''I just do what they tell me to do,'' the second-year player said. ''I don't know, I just want

to help us win and do whatever it takes to help us win. I want to play but I want to win as well.''

Grove has been splitting his time between center and left guard at practice since recovering from his knee injury. Last week, with right guard Ron Stone nursing sore ribs, the 25-year-old Grove moved sides and took some work at that spot as well.

Grove started eight games at right guard as a rookie before moving into the starting lineup at center this season. Though he has been healthy enough to play each of the last three weeks, the Raiders have preferred to keep him in a back-up role because of his ability to play both guard positions coupled with the questionable health status of Stone and left guard Brad Badger, who has a sore knee.

''Right now the hardest thing is if we committed and gave Jake all the practice time at center -- which he would need to get it going -- then we have a problem (because) we have two guys banged up and guard,'' Turner said. ''The big thing is we have to get all those guys completely healthy, then we have a decision to make.''

Treu, who has bounced in and out of the starting lineup for the past five years, said he spoke with Grove about the situation to keep the younger player from getting discouraged.

''I told him we had won a few games and when things are going well you want to keep them the same,'' Treu said. ''There's no ill feelings or anything like that. It's just the situation. We're getting reps at all of the positions and he's versatile enough and we're fortunate that he can do it.''

NOTES

* Wide receiver Randy Moss took part in the entire practice, though he is still not 100 percent healthy.

* Stone also was back at practice and split reps with Grove at right guard.

* The game against Denver has been officially declared a sellout, meaning the Raiders will not be blacked out on local television. It is just the 29th sellout since the team relocated to Oakland in 1995.

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