On Wednesday, Hayden continued to get in some work on the side of the field, running, high-stepping through the ladder and working on cuts while the rest of his teammates participated in drills on the field.
Hayden has remained out of practice since Organized Team Activities in May but has recently showed improvement by making cuts on his surgically-repaired foot.
Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver liked what he saw from Hayden early in the offseason before his injury, and knows that the best way to improve your game is to actually be on the field with reps.
“Yeah, I feel for DJ in that the only way to get better at playing football is to play football and he just needs practice reps,” Tarver said. “So hopefully his body allows him to do that and we’ll practice him as much as he can and see how far he can go. With DJ, DJ’s going to be a fine football player. There is a time element and as soon as the doctors and everybody say he’s ready, then we’re excited to get him practice reps. He was explosive in the spring and you could see it starting to happen before his latest one happened. So we expect him to get back to that and we’ll practice him as long as it takes. We’ll get as many reps as we can with the young man.”
If his body does not allow him to return to practice, the Raiders are able to put him on the Physically Unable to Perform list as early as Tuesday, Aug. 26th but have to make a determination by Saturday, Aug. 30 when teams make their final cutdowns to their 53-man roster.
Should Hayden be placed in the PUP, he would be unable to return to the team until week seven per league rules.
As of Tuesday, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen was unwilling to estimate which direction he may go as they want to see how his foot reacts to rehab.
“So, we’re going to see how the rehab process goes over the next few days and get a better feel for exactly when we think he’s going to be available,” Allen said Tuesday after practice. “That decision, it hasn’t been made yet.”
While Allen wants to see his young cornerback on the field, he understands that he has to be ready to be back on the field before inserting him back on to the roster.
“I think that’s what you’ve got to look at. I think you’ve got to look at are you rushing the guy back, or is he going to be ready,” Allen said. “He’s not ready right now. Could he be ready in the next few days? That’s a potential. If he’s not then obviously the reserve/PUP is an option for us.”
Only time will tell on whether or not Hayden will get back on to the practice field and avoid starting his second year on the PUP.