Schilens getting closer to returning

Wide receiver Chaz Schilens took another step toward returning to the Raiders lineup, but it's still uncertain whether he'll play this Sunday against Philadelphia. Find out what happened with Schilens and catch up on the rest of the day's happenings in S&BI's roundup.

Chaz Schilens has been sidelined with a broken ankle since Aug. 18, robbing the Raiders of arguably their top wide receiver. It's been a slow road back for the second-year player but Schilens could make his return this week.

He practiced with the rest of his teammates in nearly full capacity on Wednesday for the first time and head coach Tom Cable did not rule out Schilens playing in Sunday's home game against the Eagles.

"He looked good in what he did so we'll give him a little more tomorrow," Cable said. "We kind of held back some just in terms of the extra week and all that."

If Schilens can return to Oakland's lineup, it would be a definite boost in the arm for an offense that has managed just one touchdown and 16 points over its last three games.

Only three wide receivers have caught passes this year and only one, Louis Murphy, has caught more than five passes. Murphy has 14 receptions, Todd Watkins has three and first-round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey has just two.

Prior to getting hurt, Schilens had formed a pretty solid bond with quarterback JaMarcus Russell and the two developed a good rhythm with one another. With the rest of the receivers failing to make much of an impact, Schilens' return would come at the perfect time for the Raiders.

Other news and notes from Thursday:

-- The injury list keeps getting bigger. Linebacker Ricky Brown was on crutches after injuring ligaments in his right ankle and was heading to a hospital for further evaluation. His backup, Jon Alston, suffered a concussion in the loss to the Giants but told S&BI he's fine and plans to start against the Eagles.

Others on the injury report include fullback Luke Lawton (ankle), running back Darren McFadden (knee), left guard Robert Gallery (leg), right tackle Cornell Green (ankle) and defensive end Greg Ellis (knee), who had his knee drained Monday.

Lawton's injury, coupled with the decision to waive Oren O'Neal, leaves the Raiders without a healthy fullback on their 53-man roster. Marcel Reece is a fullback on the practice squad, but Cable said the team will use rookie tight end Brandon Myers or running back Gary Russell.

-- Cable said the decision to waive fullback Oren O'Neal was a result of his knee and ankle injuries.

-- Linebacker Kirk Morrison had an MRI on his knee which proved negative.

-- Michael Vick will make his first-ever appearance at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday as the backup to Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.

While in jail serving his sentence for funding a dog-fighting ring, Vick's name came up in association with the Raiders as a possible team he might go to once released. But former Colts head coach Tony Dungy, now a football analyst for NBC, said he told Vick to stay away from Oakland.

"I advised Michael Vick not to go there," Dungy said. "I said, 'Mike, you might be able to start there but that is not a good place for you.'^"

Whether or not the Raiders were seriously considering Vick is questionable, though.

"You know, we really didn't talk about it when it came up because we had four quarterbacks on roster already, and it wasn't an area of need for us," Cable said. "We really never discussed it."

-- The Eagles are one of the most active blitzing teams in the NFL. According to Cable, Philadelphia blitzes as much as 50 percent of the time, something the Raiders have had problems handling. Cable said it's critical Oakland go right at the Eagles rather than letting the visitors set the pace.

"Don't sit back and wait for it, they're going to bring it," Cable said. "You're not going to have to go looking for it; it's not going to e a situational thing. That's who they are - highest blitz percentage in pro football. They're good at it. They got good cover people. They know what they're doing with it. And so it's part of it and the only way to counter it is to go back and attack it."

-- Cable didn't seem to have much of an issue with comments made by Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, who said that playing the Raiders last week was like playing a scrimmage.

"When you win, there's a right way to do that, how you handle yourself afterwards," Cable said. "Obviously, they got after us. So all we can do is change it. If we don't like it, do something about it."

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