The busses arrived to take the Raiders to the airport Friday, and it appears they will depart with tackle Menelik Watson.
UPDATE: Watson is indeed out and will not make the trip. In addition, strong side linebacker Sio Moore is questionable with a toe injury and will be a game time decision. Kaluka Maiava will start if Moore cannot play. Also out are David Ausberry (shoulder) and Jared Veldheer (triceps).
Watson, the rookie left tackle who had an encouraging debut in the preseason finale against Seattle, was not at practice for the third consecutive day, making his participation in the regular-season Sunday in Indianapolis unlikely.
That means nine-year veteran Khalif Barnes (6-foot-6, 321 pounds) will move from right tackle to left tackle, with 10-year veteran Tony Pashos starting on the right side.
Barnes hasn’t played on the left side with the Raiders, although he did play the position with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Watson was essentially an emergency starter because left tackle Jared Veldheer was lost for a “significant’’ portion of the season after having surgery to repair a torn left triceps.
“Unfortunately, we’ve got two guys hurt, so it’s `next man up,’ ‘’ Barnes said Thursday. “I’ve done this position before. It’s been a little while but I’ll get back on the bike and start riding again. It felt good. We’re going to go out and play ball. No excuses. I felt good about it.’’
Pashos (6-6, 325) signed with the Raiders Monday after the team waived Alex Barron.
The Raiders are expected to promote Matt McCants, (6-5, 309) from the practice squad to be the backup tackle on both sides. McCants was on the practice squad of the New York Giants last season and was a sixth-round pick out of Alabama-Birmingham.
UPDATE: McCants was dressing in a suit and preparing to travel to Indianapolis. Coach Dennis Allen said there would be no announcements regarding transactions until Saturday.
A roster move will be necessary to bring aboard another player. The Raiders could either release someone on the 53-man roster or place Veldheer on the short-term injured reserve list.
Once Veldheer is designated for return, he is off the 53-man roster and out a minimum of eight weeks, rehabbing for six weeks and then practicing for two weeks before he can be activated.
Also not practicing for the Raiders was tight end David Ausberry (shoulder), making veteran Jeron Mastrud the likely starter. Place kicker Sebastian Janikowski (calf) was at practice.