ALAMEDA – Center Stefen Wisniewski returns to help an ailing Raiders offensive line Sunday against Pittsburgh, but the entire cavalry ain’t coming.
Starting right tackle Tony Pashos, reserve guard/center Andre Gurode and rookie tackle Menelik Watson were listed as doubtful Friday afternoon on the team’s official injury report.
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Wisniewski will upgrade two spots up front, allowing Mike Brisiel to move back to his rightful place at right guard.
“It’s a great thing,” running back Darren McFadden said. “It’s important to have the line getting healthy again. That’s something we’ve been missing over the past couple weeks, so it’s nice to get some important guys back in the right spot.”
That leaves Matt McCants as the only new piece on an offensive line that started the season together. McCants fared well starting for Pashos Oct. 6 against San Diego and played well after Pashos went down Oct. 13 against Kansas City.
“He’s done some good things for us,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “We’re confident in what he can do.”
While the front five is nearly back, the depth chart remains woefully thin. The Raiders don’t have a backup tackle, and are expected to promote Jack Cornell from the practice squad. Lamar Mady is the only backup guard, so a repeat of the Chiefs loss – Pashos and Gurode were both lost to injury – would be disastrous.
“Guys have to be able to, when their number is called, they have to be able to go out there and perform,” Allen said. “I think our guys have done an admirable job of doing that when they’ve had the opportunity. Guys have stepped up and they’re going to have to continue to step up.”
Raiders Status Report
SS Tyvon Branch (ankle)
OT Menelik Watson (calf), G/C Andre Gurode (quadriceps), RT Tony Pashos (hip)
Kaluka Maiava (hamstring)
C Stefen Wisniewski (knee), CB Tracy Porter (shoulder)
Steelers Status Report
WR Markus Wheaton (finger), TE Richard Gordon (toe)
OT Kelvin Beachum (ribs), OT Marcus Gilbert (quadriceps), DE Brett Keisel (ribs), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), WR Jericho Coctchery (abdomen), DE Cameron Heyward (Illness), LB Jones Jarvis (concussion), LB Lawrence Timmons (hand), LB LaMarr Woodley (knee), OG Ramon Foster (thumb).