ALAMEDA -- With left tackle Menelik Watson not present for practice Thursday with a knee injury, the Raiders have only two healthy tackles on the 53-man roster.

Watson has precious little experience, but performed well enough while playing into the third quarter in a 22-6 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks that coach Dennis Allen named him the starter for the regular-season opener Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

The injury originally occurred Wednesday, with Allen referring to the injury as a ``tweak.' Watson started practice Wednesday but did not finish.

If Watson can't play, Allen said the likely move would be to move Khalif Barnes from the right side to the left side, and then install Tony Pashos as the right tackle.

Pashos, a 10-year veteran, was signed Monday.

The Raiders are still carrying Jared Veldheer on the 53-man roster, having not placed him on the injured reserve list, designated for return. If and when Veldheer goes on that list, he is removed from the 53-man roster and the Raiders can sign an additional player.

Players who go on injured reserve, designated for return are out six weeks and then have two weeks to rehabilitate before being eligible to return. By not putting Veldheer on the list, the Raiders are either confident he could be back sooner than eight weeks, or possibly believe he could be out much longer than that and they don't want to start the clock on the waiting period.


Advertisement

The Raiders are carrying one tackle on the practice squad in first-year tackle Matt McCants, a first-year player out of Alabama Birmingham.

McCants was a sixth-round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2012. He didn't make the 53-man roster but spent the season on the practice squad. McCants played in 47 games at Alabama-Birnmingham with 42 starts.

Place kicker Sebastian Janikowski was the field Thursday after missing practice with a calf strain. Tight end David Ausberry was not on the field, making Jeron Mastrud the likely starter against Indianapolis.

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on Twitter at twitter.com/Jerrymcd.