The exact nature of Raiders second year cornerback, D.J. Hayden has been somewhat unknown for a while. He injured during the first week of OTA's and initially it was though to be an ankle injury that wasn't serious. It was discovered this week that he was still not ready to return and that injury was actually a foot, not an ankle.
Hearing of foot injuries that take far longer to heal than originally expected raises huge red flags with worries of lis franc foot injuries like what happened with Darren McFadden in 2011. But those concerns were eased along with some light shed on the injury on Thursday.
"DJ rolled his ankle, I guess it was the end of the first week of OTA's [organized team activities]," said Dennis Allen on Thursday. "We did an MRI that didn't really reveal anything of any kind of significance. He really wasn't getting better like we thought that he would. We did another MRI at the end of mini-camp which revealed a stress fracture in his foot that he had to go and have fixed. He's not going to be ready. I haven't seen him today. He was out of the boot yesterday. Whether he's in the boot or out of the boot today, I don't know. I wish I had a time frame for when he was going to be back; I don't know what that time frame is going to be.
"It's disappointing, both for him and for me, because he's a guy who we're counting on being able to step up and help us this year, and he's a young player and he needs reps. The good news is, the kid's been working extremely hard to try to get himself back and get himself out there and ready to go, but he will not be ready for the start of camp."
Charles Woodson said on Wednesday that Hayden missing all of the off-season practices and now an indefinite amount of training camp is "a big setback" for the young cornerback. Dennis Allen echoed that sentiment on Thursday.
"He's still a young player, and these young guys, they need the reps; they need the work. Is it a setback? Yeah, it's a setback. Is it something that's going to keep him from being able to contribute this year? I certainly hope not, but that will be determined by how fast he's able to recover, how fast he's able to get out on the field, and then when he's out on the field, what's he able to do, how he's able to perform."
"I think he's frustrated, but I don't think he's in any state of despair or anything like that. I think he understands he has another challenge he has to try to overcome, and he understands the road that he has ahead of him. He's been working hard to try to get back. The kid wants to be out there. He wants to play. It's just been unfortunate that he's had some injuries that have kept him from being able to do that."
Hayden went through similar while he was recovering from off-season surgery to remove scar tissue from is abdomen. In week eight, he suffered a season-ending groin injury.
The bright side this time is a stress fracture is not an injury which has lingering effects such as a muscle tear and it won't require a considerably long healing time. Usually it takes about 8 weeks which would have him ready to begin rehabbing within the next week or so and hopefully be able to participate in at least a bit of camp before it breaks on August 11.
Carlos Rogers will replace Hayden on the first team across from Tarell Brown. The two of them started opposite each other in San Francisco last season.