Jack Del Rio: 'Pain' tolerance keeping Gareon Conley sidelined

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- While the exact nature of Gareon Conley's shin injury has not been revealed, this much is true: It hurts.

It hurts so much that the Oakland Raiders' first-round draft pick has only played in two games -- home against the New York Jets on Sept. 17 and at the Washington Redskins on Sept. 24 -- after missing all of training camp and preseason with the injury.

The Raiders are woefully thin at cornerback -- besides Conley being inactive for Oakland's 30-17 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, starter David Amerson also was held out after suffering a concussion the week prior -- and Antonio Hamilton suffered a knee injury against Baltimore.

"There's a certain amount of pain that's involved that keeps him from doing what he needs to do," Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said of Conley in his weekly media conference on Monday.

"And when that is under control and he's able to go, then we look forward to having him. But until that is under control and he's able to do things he needs to do, he's going to remain sidelined."

With Conley and Amerson out, the Ravens went after Sean Smith, who gave up a 52-yard bomb to Mike Wallace on the first play of the game.

Midway through the second quarter, Joe Flacco again found Wallace, and again covered by Smith, this time for a 54-yard pickup on a deep throw as free safety Reggie Nelson arrived late from center field.

Del Rio offered his thoughts on the deep balls that Smith surrendered.

"Well, the very first play, nobody can help him on that one," Del Rio said. "He's got a buzz player coming underneath him; he's got to stay on top. You just can't start the game that way.

"But the second one, Reggie should have intercepted that ball. That ball's thrown inside the numbers, toward the middle of the field. We have to go make a play on that and give him some help there. Either way, he's got to be on top. That's his job to be on top on both of those plays. But the second one he should have had more help."

Perhaps a returning Conley would offer such help. After all, on his signature play as a pro, Conley broke up a deep throw down the left sideline by the Jets.

And per Pro Football Focus, Conley was leading Oakland's cornerbacks in yards per cover snap (minimum 40 snaps in coverage) at 0.63.

Del Rio was asked about a timetable for Conley's return to help a defense that has yet to intercept a pass through five games, with the Los Angeles Chargers and Philip Rivers coming to Oakland next.

"It's [trending] to long term," Del Rio said. "I would hope it would be resolved at some time in the near future. But I think we're doing the best we can to manage it."