Jeff Chiu Associated Press Raiders starting center Stefen Wisniewski, who missed the season opener with a calf injury, is scheduled to start Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Wisniewski, his calf healed, will start at center

Published: Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 - 12:26 am

ALAMEDA – Stefen Wisniewski appears recovered from his calf injury and will likely start at center Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Friday.

Allen had waited to decide on his starting center while monitoring how Wisniewski, who missed the final three weeks of the preseason and did not play in the regular-season opener against the San Diego Chargers, performed in practice with the first-team offense.

Allen said he also wanted to see how Alex Parsons, who started the opener, responded to a shoulder injury he has battled this week. Parsons is listed as questionable for Sunday.

"We'll probably go with Wiz," Allen said. "He's back healthy and he executed this week in practice. So I think he's prepared and ready to go."

If Wisniewski, who is shifting from left guard to center this year, does start, it will be the regular-season debut of the offensive line the Raiders intended to have this season when they began training camp.

Offseason labrum surgery and then the calf injury suffered Aug. 13 cut into Wisniewski's practice reps at center, and Parsons' play had the Raiders feeling comfortable enough not to rush Wisniewski back last week.

"I felt healthy, but I had missed a lot of reps, so it made sense that they did that," Wisniewski said of being held out of the opener.

"Getting those reps back helps you mentally and physically, and just to feel sharp and confident in there."

Quick thinking is critical for a center, who issues directions to the rest of the line. In the Raiders' running game in particular, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said this week, there is a lot of responsibility on the center to "target us right. They do the audibling, if you will, so we don't have to audible as a quarterback to change plays out."

"Part of it is mentally being able to make calls real fast with defenses moving around," Wisniewski said. "Part of it is getting your fits, working with your guards. When you miss reps working with people next to you, it takes a little while to get those fits quite right again."

Establishing the run this weekend is "super-important," Wisniewski said.

The Raiders rushed for 45 yards in their opener, including negative yardage in the second half as the Chargers' lead forced them to go to the air.

"We really kind of build our offense around being able to run the ball, then come play-action and pass off of that," Wisniewski said. "If you get rid of the run, you become one-dimensional, and that's what happened in the second half last game.

"We were just throwing the ball all the time and that's not what we want to do. We want to be balanced."

Condo practices – Long snapper Jon Condo (concussion) returned to practice Friday and traveled with the team to Miami. He is questionable for the game as he continues to go through the league's concussion protocol.

"They said it's like four tests and I've passed two of them so far," Condo said. "It's a process. I'm making the trip, and that's really all I know."

Allen said that Nick Guess, signed to the practice squad this week, also will make the trip in case Condo can't play.

Condo said he watched film of the play on which he got hurt and saw that teammate Brandon Myers accidentally kneed him in the back of the head after a punt.

Injury report – Jacoby Ford (foot) and Ron Bartell (shoulder) are the only Raiders ruled out for Sunday. Condo, Parsons, wide receiver Juron Criner (ankle), running back Taiwan Jones (ribs) and linebacker Rolando McClain (ankle) are all questionable.

David Ausberry (shoulder), Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), Mike Mitchell (ribs), Denarius Moore (hamstring), Brandon Myers (shoulder) and Richard Seymour (knee) are probable.

For the Dolphins, defensive end Tony McDaniel (knee) and running back Daniel Thomas (concussion) are out, receiver Anthony Armstrong (hamstring) is doubtful, and linebacker Jonathan Freeny (thumb) and defensive end Randy Starks (groin) are probable.

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