Undrafted rookie Nick Miller made the team primarily for his kick-returning skills but was inactive for the opener for what was described as shin splints. Turns out the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Southern Utah product has a stress fracture in his right shin that will keep him sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks.
"I actually thought my ankle was broken," Miller said Wednesday. "It's kind of the top of my ankle, it's real low. So it felt like it was actually broken. And once we got the bone scan, it showed itself."
So with Johnnie Lee Higgins questionable for the Kansas City game on Sunday with a shoulder sprain, the Raiders are working safety Hiram Eugene and receiver Javon Walker as potential punt returners.
Thing is, Eugene looked completely out of his element in attempting to field punts - one went through his arms and another he called a fair catch on bounced away from him - and Walker was inactive for the season opener, still recovering from his mysterious knee surgery on foreign soil (Comcast analyst Bill Romanowski said the procedure was in Israel).
Then there's this - though coach Tom Cable said Walker returned punts early in his career, he has never performed in that role. As a rookie in 2002 with Green Bay, Walker did return 35 kickoffs for 769 yards.
Cable did say, however, that Walker would be activated for the Chiefs game and see time at receiver. That should help quarterback JaMarcus Russell with another dependable target.