If the Raiders had known Gareon Conley’s shin injury was going to linger this long, they would’ve made the decision to put him on IR at the beginning of the season. The top pick corner suffered the injury in June minicamp and now five months later he’s still not able to play.
Today Jack Del Rio said with the Raiders’ bye week upcoming, the time to make a decision one way or the other is at hand.
“Obviously the first round pick [Gareon Conley],” Del Rio said, leading out his evaluation of his rookie class. “The guy’s gonna be a really good football player and there was the drama about the off the field stuff which ended up being exactly what we thought; that it wouldn’t amount to anything, and then there was the unknown injury that he’s dealt with. And at some point here, we wanted to get to the bye week and take a look, so at some point we’ll take a look and make a determination. Is it ‘yes, we’re good to go’ or ‘no, he’s gonna need to go down.’ And that decision is approaching.”
It is not Del Rio’s modus operandi to discuss injuries or timetables. So, it certainly wasn’t a good sign that to begin last week, Del Rio was already saying Conley would not face the Dolphins. To write Conley off that early on doesn’t offer a lot of hope he will suddenly be ready to go even two weeks later.
As Del Rio noted, the injury is ‘unknown’. Reggie McKenzie called it shin splints during camp and thought he’d be back before the end of camp. Conley disputed the shin splints label and even mocked it as ‘fake news’, apparently not knowing it was his own GM who said it.
Conley did return to practice just prior to the season, but was inactive for the opener. He saw action in weeks two and three, but since then he’s been back on the shelf as the injury becomes more and more of an enigma.
Having him on the roster, but not available has put a strain on the secondary which last week ended up fielding just three corners due to the injury to David Amerson.
Should Conley be sent to IR, it would add to the mystery of his shin injury, not to mention a ‘here we go again’ with regard to recent early injuries to Raiders high pick defensive backs ala DJ Hayden, Karl Joseph, and Obi Melifonwu. Then again, we’re already there.
This needs to end now. Either with Conley taking the field or shutting it down to open a roster spot.