Nix back at practice, Ross taking over for Branch


ALAMEDA – Left guard Lucas Nix (ankle) on Friday practiced for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury. Coach Dennis Allen said he isn’t sure yet whether Nix or Andre Gurode will start against the Broncos.

Weak side linebacker Kevin Burnett also returned to practice. He missed most of Thursday’s practice with an illness.

Strong safety Tyvon Branch (ankle), left tackle Menelik Watson (knee) and tight end David Ausberry (shoulder) didn’t practice Friday, and they aren’t likely to play against the Broncos.

— Allen said he is “leaning toward” starting Brandian Ross at strong safety Monday. Ross has worked with the first-team defense this week and declared himself “ready.”

“It’s the perfect time for me to make an impact on this team,” Ross said. He started one game for the Raiders last season.

Usama Young also is adept at playing strong safety, and he might see some time there against the Broncos, or as an extra defensive back on obvious passing downs.

— A company that owns 13 appliance stores in Colorado is offering to pick up the tab for items purchased the week before the Raiders and Broncos play if the Broncos shut out the Raiders.

The company has used this publicity stunt for at least the past decade, without having to pay up.