ALAMEDA -- Raiders offensive tackle Menelik Watson couldn’t practice on Thursday morning, a day after tweaking his knee.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen didn’t give an update the injury’s severity, but Watson’s absence has become a big deal on a team with just two healthy offensive tackles.
They don’t have a healthy backup ready, and Allen said he wouldn’t move a guard up to tackle. He said the Raiders would look into promoting a member of the practice squad. Newcomer Matt McCants is the only tackle on that unit.
Whether Watson plays or not, the missed time is a detriment to the team and the rookie’s progress.
“It’s obviously a concern,” Allen said. “When you don’t practice, it makes things much more difficult. We’ll see how he is tomorrow and the direction we have to go.”
The second-round pick was the Raiders best option to replace injured starter Jared Veldheer, out until midseason, at least, recovering from triceps surgery. Veldheer remains on the 53-man roster while the team decides when best to put him on injured reserve with a designation to return.
The Raiders have had two injury setbacks at the same position, which complicates matters more.
“It certainly does,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “The loss of Veldheer was big, and we’ll continue to see how Menelik feels. When you lose a player, you have to adapt, and you have to put together the best plan for the players you have available on Sunday.”
Allen said Wednesday that right tackle Khalif Barnes would slide over to left tackle and be replaced on the right by Tony Pashos, a veteran signed on Monday.
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Thursday marks the final full work day before Sunday’s regular-season opener against Indianapolis. The team will conduct a walk-through on Friday and travel to play the Colts on Saturday. With each day missed, Watson’s chance of playing decreases significantly.