NAPA, Calif . -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Oakland Raiders training camp:
Cornerback DJ Hayden, on the Physically Unable to Perform list since before training camp began as he recovers from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, worked with a trainer on a side field before practice began Sunday. But while fellow cornerback Neiko Thorpe and safety Usama Young were able to make cuts while jogging, Hayden labored to run in a straight line. Progress, yes? “Yeah,” said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. “As far as the timeline, I still [can’t] give you an accurate timeline, but I think it’s encouraging that he was out here on the field and able to do some things on the field. Hopefully the process can begin to speed up, but a lot of that is going to depend on how he responds after a day’s work.” Hayden suffered the injury in the first week of OTAs but was not diagnosed with a stress fracture until after minicamp in June, which is when he underwent the surgery. Are the Raiders harboring hopes of Hayden being ready for the regular season opener? “I think we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Allen said. “Right now, we’re a little ahead of ourselves. So, I think we’ve just got to monitor his progress and his rehab and then we’ll kind of figure out where we go from there once he’s able to get out here and actually start practicing football.”
Allen also said there was no timetable for the return of tight end David Ausberry, who underwent a procedure on a knee last week. “It’s still too early to know exactly when we’ll get him back,” Allen said. “He’s in the rehab process.”
The Raiders were in helmets and shorts for the second consecutive practice and for the second consecutive practice there was a brief scuffle in team drills. Defensive end Justin Tuck and right guard Austin Howard pushed and shoved until Howard fell to his back and teammates broke it up. Howard was also involved in a skirmish with rookie defensive tackle Justin Ellis on Wednesday.
The prettiest play of the day was Andre Holmes splitting linebacker Sio Moore and free safety Charles Woodson on a deep ball from Matt Schaub. The second prettiest? The absolute bullet thrown by Derek Carr and caught by Brice Butler in a tight window over the middle. The ugliest? Greg Little dropping a Schaub spiral over the middle. And that’s not counting the Carr pass that bounced off Little’s fingertips and into the waiting arms of Brandian Ross for an interception.
Linebacker Kaluka Maiava (hamstring) practiced for the first time in two weeks. Defensive tackle Justin Ellis (concussion), guard Lamar Mady (ankle) and linebacker Justin Cole (unknown) missed practice while cornerback Jansen Watson left the team to contemplate his future, a Raiders spokesman said. Hayden, Young and guard Lucas Nix (knee) remain on the PUP list and safety Shelton Johnson and linebacker Marshall McFadden were transferred to the Reserve/Injured list.
The Raiders break camp Monday with a practice at 8:20 a.m. PT before flying to Southern California to prepare for a pair of practices with the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday and Wednesday in Oxnard.