- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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ALAMEDA, Calif. – Rookie right tackle Menelik Watson is on pace to start his first NFL game on Sunday for the Oakland Raiders at the New York Giants as Matt McCants and Tony Pashos both missed practice Wednesday.
Watson, Oakland’s second-round draft pick, made his NFL debut last weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles in place of McCants, who injured his right foot. Watson himself is coming off a left calf injury that first flared up in training camp. He also underwent surgery on his right knee just before the season began.
“I’m just trying to get in shape right now,” Watson said. “I got a lot of reps today, so I was a little winded. After practice I just stayed around, ran a couple, trying to get in shape. I’m about to go out again after work, just trying to get back in shape.
“From a mental standpoint, I’m still very sharp. Obviously, with some of the new plays that we’ve put in, I haven’t physically ran through them. The older guys are doing a great job of helping me get through those.”
Watson figures to get a heavy dose of Giants defensive end Justin Tuck.
“If [Watson is] the guy that is called on to go, then he’ll have to step up and perform,” said Raiders coach Dennis Allen.
Here is the Raiders’ injury report for Wednesday:
Did not participate: SS Tyvon Branch (ankle), WR Juron Criner (right shoulder), PK Sebastian Janikowski (ribs), LB Kaluka Maiava (ribs), RT Matt McCants (toe), RB Darren McFadden (right hamstring), RT Tony Pashos (hip).
7dEric D. Williams