There are obvious risks involved when drafting a player with an ugly history of injuries. In D.J. Hayden’s case, it’s only one injury that defines him, but it’s one that almost cost him his life. And the Raiders are already realizing these risks barely one month after drafting him.
The rookie cornerback, whom the Raiders selected 12th overall in April’s draft, has been hospitalized for what the team is saying a procedure to remove scar tissue in his abdominal region. He is expected to miss the rest of the team’s offseason practices and workouts but should be back for training camp in late July.
Hayden almost died in November when he ruptured a major vein in his chest that leads directly to the heart during practice at the University of Houston. After life-saving surgery, he was left with a scar from his belly button to the top of his chest. Doctors gave him the OK to return to football, clearing the way for the Raiders to draft him with their first pick in the draft.
Dennis Allen is unsure whether this issue is at all related to last year’s scare:
“We can’t rule that out,” Allen said. “Right now, I don’t know the correlation to it, but we don’t anticipate it being an issue.”
Hayden was a full participant in practice last week. Allen said symptoms began to appear last Tuesday. The coach didn’t go into any other particulars.
This injury of course will lead to more questions about Hayden’s post-surgery durability. It’s definitely a scary development. It’s probably going to be the same whenever Hayden suffers any injury ostensibly related to his near-fatal injury. But until more information becomes available, it’s probably not worth torturing yourself by making links to his prior condition.
Even if this is only a minor speed bump in Hayden’s recovery, it’s still coming at a cost to a rookie trying to adapt to a new team and level of football, as Allen alludes to:
“It’s obviously not a good thing, from a football standpoint,” Allen said. “As a rookie, you need all the reps you can get and all the work you can get.”