NAPA – DJ Hayden will miss part of Raiders training camp, quite possibly a decent portion.
Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed what NFL sources previously told CSN Bay Area, that Hayden has a right foot injury. Hayden suffered a stress fracture in late May originally thought to be an ankle sprain.
A second MRI shortly after Raiders minicamp ended June 19 confirmed a stress fracture in his foot that required surgical repair. Hayden had his foot fixed shortly after.
“It’s disappointing for him and for me,” Allen said at a Thursday lunch with local press. “He’s a guy that we’re counting on being able to help us this year. He’s a young player who needs reps. The good news is that the kid’s been working extremely hard to get himself back out there and ready to go. He will not be ready to go at the start of camp.”
Hayden will be placed on the physically unable to perform list, and it’s uncertain when Hayden will be ready to practice. Allen did not give a formal timetable for return, but he mentioned a 4-8 week recovery period for injuries of this type.
Hayden is roughly four weeks into his recovery, meaning he might have a month or so remaining. Much of these variances depends on the individual. With the Raiders breaking camp on Aug. 11, odds are strong that Hayden won’t practice here in Napa.
No matter how long he’s out, Allen concedes that it’s a significant setback.
“These young guys need the work,” Allen said. “Is it a setback? Yeah, it’s a setback. Is it something that will keep him from being able to contribute this year? I certainly hope not.
“All that will be determined by how fast he can get back on the field and what he’s able to do. How will be able to perform?”
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There’s another issue at hand here. Hayden worked extremely hard to gain 5-10 pounds of muscle and attain terrific football shape during an offseason lengthened by an IR stint in 2013. That work has mostly gone for naught.
“We’ll have to see when he’s pain free, and when we can get him running and start getting him back into football activity,” Allen said.
After being healthy following 18 months marred by a heart condition, surgery to remove scar tissue, a hamstring strain and a sports hernia, Hayden is disappointed to be physically unfit yet again.
“He’s frustrated, but I don’t think he’s in a state of despair,” Allen said. “He understands that he has another challenge to overcome. There’s a road ahead of him, and he’s working hard. The kid wants to play, and it’s unfortunate that he’s had some injuries that have kept him from being able to do that.”
Hayden’s injury will increase reps for others. Allen said that Carlos Rogers, originally slated as the primary slot corner, will move into Hayden’s spot at first-team outside corner opposite Tarell Brown. Rogers will still work in the slot, as will rookie TJ Carrie. Chimdi Chekwa will also work with the first team at outside corner in nickel situations.