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Raiders face decision to shelve DJ Hayden

ALAMEDA —  The Raiders will soon need to decide if cornerback DJ Hayden should be placed on the regular season physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and thus miss the first six weeks of the regular season, head coach Dennis Allen said this week.

Hayden underwent surgery in June to repair a stress fracture on his right foot and has spent the remainder of the off-season recovering.

The Raiders have until next Tuesday to determine whether or not Hayden will be ready to go when the regular season begins. Allen indicated that the staff is still unsure that Hayden will be game ready in the coming weeks:

“We’re going to see how the rehab process goes over the next few days and get a better feel for when we think he’s going to be available. That decision, it hasn’t been made yet.”

Should the Raiders decide to place Hayden on the regular-season PUP list, he would not be able to make his first appearance until October 12, when the Raiders face San Diego at home. Hayden would be allowed to begin practicing anytime after next Tuesday.

Placing Hayden on the list would open up a spot on the 53-man roster, at least until Hayden is reinstated. It would give Oakland the opportunity to take a longer look at someone who otherwise would be waived or relegated to the practice squad.

Add to that the fact that Chimdi Chekwa (knee) is questionable for the first game of the season, leaving the possibility of having two unavailable cornerbacks on the active roster at season’s outset.

Allen wouldn’t go into hypotheticals on Hayden until he has a better idea of where the second-year defensive back is at. He did say Hayden will be on the roster when he’s physically ready, and no sooner:

“I think you’ve got to look at are you rushing the guy back, or is he going to be ready. 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.”

Summer hasn’t brought the best luck for Hayden, who was hospitalized with abdominal adhesions during last summer’s OTAs. That injury stemmed from a previous life-threatening injury Hayden suffered during his senior year at Houston, when a safety’s knee struck him in the chest, tearing a large vein in his heart.

Hayden also missed the last seven weeks of the 2013 season and was placed in the injured reserve with a groin injury. Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver hopes Hayden can start getting reps on the practice field as soon as possible:

“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. 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. DJ’s going to be a fine football player.”

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