The Raiders on Wednesday received a much-needed jolt of positive news regarding their battered offensive line with the return of starting center Stefen Wisniewski from a knee injury.
Wisniewski missed the past two games with an injury he suffered against the Washington Redskins. His return looms even larger, given backup center Andre Gurode still is sidelined by a knee injury.
The Raiders were so thin at center against the Kansas City Chiefs in their last game that career guard Mike Brisiel was forced into emergency duty when Gurode left the game. Brisiel last played center in 2007, by his recollection. And that was when Brisiel was in NFL Europe.
The news isn’t all upbeat for the Raiders and their offensive line, though. Right offensive tackle Tony Pashos (hip) still hasn’t been cleared to practice, though he worked with a team athletic trainer on a field adjacent to the practice fields today.
Wisniewski was in a similar situation Monday, so perhaps Pashos is close to making it back on the field with the rest of his teammates, too.
Rookie offensive tackle Menelik Watson still hasn’t healed well enough from his calf injury to take part in any drills.
So, the way the Raiders lined up offensively today figures to be what they go with against the Steelers on Sunday: Khalif Barnes, Lucas Nix, Wisniewski, Brisiel and Matt McCants, from left to right. If Pashos is able to play, he’ll bump McCants from the mix.
Beyond that, the Raiders are pretty healthy, with the exception of strong safety Tyvon Branch and left offenisve tackle Jared Veldheer, two players still a ways away from returning to action.
– Linebacker Miles Burris also worked off to the side with a team trainer as he continues his inexorable march toward a return from offseason knee surgery.
– We won’t know for sure until Thursday afternoon whether Sunday’s game is a sellout. However, early indications are that the game will sell out in advance of the league deadline and be televised locally.