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.

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).