Linebacker Miles Burris is on the practice field today, as expected, putting an end to the long wait he endured whle rehabilitating an injury that required surgery.
Burris had the surgery soon after last season ended. Therefore, he has spent the better part of 10 months rehabbing.
Now that he’s practicing with his teammates, the Raiders have 21 days to evaluate Burris before a decision is made whether to activate him to the 53-man roster, place him on season-ending injured reserve or release him.
The third option seems very unlikely, given how well Burris performed as a rookie last season, when he supplanted Aaron Curry in the starting lineup and stayed there all season.
That the Raiders cleared Burris to practice signifies that they think he has a realistic chance to help them in games the rest of his season, even if he’s not in the staring lineup.
The Raiders are pretty set at linebacker with Kevin Burnett, Nick Roach and Sio Moore entrenched for now. Therefore, Burris’ return would give defensive coordinator Jason Tarver more flexibility in terms of using a 3-4 alignment more often.
Burris also has the ability to help out on special teams.
– Rookie offensive lineman Menelik Watson also is back on the practice field. He missed the past several weeks after he aggravated a calf injury.
Watson still is trying to stay healthy enough so that he can play in his first regular-season game. He was slated to begin the season at left offensive tackle until he suffered a knee injury that required surgery.
Watson worked at left tackle with the second-team offense during the early portion of practice.
– Right tackle Tony Pashos, left tackle Jared Veldheer and backup lineman Andre Gurode aren’t at practice today.
Veldheer was in Southern California earlier this week to see a specialist about his recovery from triceps surgery. No word yet on what he gleaned from that meeting.
Veldheer has been out all season after an injury that he suffered in training camp. He now is eligible to play in a game after being forced to sit out the first nine games, as required by players designated for return from injured reserve — teams are allowed one such designation per season.
Matt McCants worked at right tackle in Pashos’ absence. He has started two games there and played well enough to warrant consideration for staying in the lineup once Pashos returns.