The Oakland Raiders have used the bye week to get their team healthy as they prepare for their final seven games and a chance for their first playoff birth since 2002.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha who sprained his ankle late in the Raiders 33-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks has resumed practicing after missing the game against the Chiefs. His practice was limited, so it is uncertain how much he will be able to contribute against the Steelers on Sunday. However, he is expected to be healthy for the bulk of the Raiders stretch run.
Tight End Zach Miller returned to practice on Wednesday after missing the Chiefs game with a foot injury. The Raiders offense struggled in the first half without his presence He is the team’s leading receiver and an important blocker in the run game. He is expected to contribute against the Steelers. He will be critical to success down the line, as he gives Jason Campbell a reliable receiver from 5-15 yards.
Defensive tackle John Henderson also returned to practice after being out since the middle of September. The Raiders run defense has improved over the course of the season, and it could not hurt to have another big body to rotate in the middle of the line as the season wears on.
Darrius Heyward-Bey missed practice with a sore hamstring. DHB has been invisible in many games over the season, even when he was healthy. However, the Raiders receiving corps is already thin on production.
Chaz Schilens did not practice. He had gotten some work in prior to the time off. He can run straight ahead, but can’t cut. This is an injury that has cost him the season to date. With the overall lack of production from this unit, it may behoove the team to put Schilens on the season ending injured reserve and see who is out there to be had at receiver.