D.J. Hayden will miss the remainder of the Oakland Raiders offseason workout program with a sprained ankle. Hayden hurt himself during the first set of OTAs back at the end of May. He was said to have rolled his ankle and was sidelined for the remaining OTAs while wearing a boot on his foot. At the beginning of the mandatory minicamp on Monday, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that Hayden would miss the entire camp but is expected to be ready for training camp.
A sprained ankle is not the type of injury that causes great concern. Those are the kinds of bumps and bruises that every NFL player expects to experience while playing in a physical sport such as football. In fact, if this were the regular season, Hayden would likely be pushing himself to return to the field sooner. But it’s not, so the coaches are likely playing it safe and letting him heal 100% before allowing him back in practice.
At the same time, the surgery to remove scar tissue from his abdomen, which kept him out of offseason workouts last year, was not an injury to be overly concerned with either. It did not have any lingering results, but it did keep the young corner from learning his trade. As he struggled during the season, the fact that he missed so much of time was often commented on. Many felt that with more time and reps this summer, Hayden would give himself a better chance of living up to his draft status.
Instead, Hayden is missing time yet again. It’s not the end of the world, but this is certainly a concerning trend. Even if the ankle injury has no lasting effects entering the season, the lack of snaps for a young player who desperately needs the practice could easily carry over. The concern should be less about the fact that he has a minor injury and more about the fact that he still has a long way to go before he can be pointed to as a good NFL corner. Right now, he finds himself stuck in neutral, unable to better himself as training camp rapidly approaches.