Four days ago, when Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller sat out of practice for the first time, it was viewed as no big deal. While beat writers will report the absence as part of their daily attendance updates, it’s normal for a veteran to take a day off during training camp, especially one of Waller’s caliber. There was no indication that he fell awkwardly the day before, was seen limping or anything along those lines so there was no reason to worry.
The second day Waller missed was more of the same. Sure, it’s not quite as normal to see a player miss two days in a row, but he wasn’t listed on the injury report, so maybe he just had some muscle tightness and the Raiders were playing it safe. That would make sense, no reason to rush the team’s best player back and risk turning a minor ailment into a major injury a month before the regular season starts.
However, on the third day, heads started to scratch and the situation became, for lack of a better term, weird. Waller still wasn’t listed on Las Vegas’ injury report and the organization wasn’t releasing any information on the matter.
Now that The Athletic’s Tashan Reed is reporting the tight end missed his fourth practice in a row today, the situation has become one of the biggest storylines to keep an eye on coming out of Raiders’ training camp.
Darren Waller is not practicing again today. The tight end has missed four straight practices. Coach Jon Gruden doesn't talk until tomorrow, so we probably won't have clarity until then.— Tashan Reed (@tashanreed) August 7, 2021
The good news is, Vic Tafur, also of The Athletic, said he spotted Waller in the weight room the other day, and the belief is whatever is going on isn’t that serious. That also means the Pro Bowler is at least with the team and getting mental reps in.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vinny Bonsignore shared a similar statement to Tafur’s, tweeting the Pro Bowler should return “soon”. While that’s positive news, it does beg the question of why the Raiders haven’t released any updates, or really any news at all, on the matter? Hopefully, we’ll start getting some questions answered tomorrow when Jon Gruden talks to the media, as Reed indicated above.
In other more uplifting news, safety Tyree Gillespie returned to practice on Saturday. The rookie missed time with what Gruden called a “soft tissue” injury, per Jesse Merrick of KSNV News 3 Las Vegas.
Gillespie is expected to compete for playing time in the Silver and Black’s defensive backfield, so it’s good to see him back on the field. Addressing the secondary was a point of emphasis for the Raiders this offseason, and they need all of the help they can get.