It's the injury that just never goes away. DJ Hayden was healthy for the first day of OTA's in May and has been sidelined ever since. At first Dennis Allen said it wasn't serious and expected him to return in short order. That came and went long ago.
Then came the third OTA and Allen was far less optimistic, and didn't expect Hayden to be back in time to participate in mandatory minicamps which means he missed basically the entire off-season. A couple weeks ago, he was still spotted wearing his walking boot which immediately brought his availability for the start of training camp in doubt.
Now, reports say he will indeed miss the start of training camp and what was once thought to be an ankle injury is actually a foot injury. This, of course, raising serious red flags with Raiders fans who saw Darren McFadden go through the same thing a couple years ago only to find out he had a lisfranc foot injury and was out for the season.
While that may be jumping to conclusions, missing the amount of time he has already as well as whatever time he could miss of training camp, is no small matter.
"It's a big setback," Charles Woodson said of Hayden missing more time. "As I've stated many times, the way you get better at this game is being out there on the field. There's only so much being in the film room, or looking at the film or studying the plays, there's only so far that's going to take you. You need to be out on the field, and along with that, other guys are going to be getting reps. If you're not out there, proving what you can do, how do you ever get back into the lineup? That will be the test for him, and hopefully it's not nothing that's going to hold him out the whole camp and he doesn't have to worry about being on PUP or anything like that, because he's a guy we feel he can help us out around here."
Last year, in Hayden's first ever training camp, he arrived in a red ‘no-contact' jersey and his play early in the season suffered for it. This year, he could be sporting his black ‘no-practice' walking boot. The outlook is not promising.