ALAMEDA — Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden could be activated from the physically unable to perform list in time for today’s game in Cleveland.
Hayden completed his second week of practice Friday but has yet to be fully cleared to play. The 12th overall pick in 2013, Hayden underwent foot surgery in the offseason — his fourth operation since suffering a near-fatal heart injury in college.
Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano has been encouraged by Hayden’s progress and noted the biggest hurdle the second-year cornerback needs to clear is conditioning.
“He’s coming along good,” Sparano said. “No real issues injury-wise or anything like that. Most of DJ’s stuff has just been from not playing. Normal, everyday not-playing soreness but he’s good to go.”
Hayden has not played in a game since Nov. 13. He missed the final eight games of his rookie season on IR after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. Six months before that, Hayden had a procedure to clear up some of the scar tissue that was related to the heart surgery he had while in college.
The second-year cornerback rolled his ankle during workouts this past offseason and wound up in a walking boot after having surgery.
The Raiders placed Hayden on the PUP list coming out of camp. They have a roster exemption for one more week then must decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or place Hayden on season-ending IR.
Indications are that Hayden will be activated soon, possibly in time for today’s game in Cleveland.
“We’ll see,” Sparano said. “We’re going to talk about it, we’re going to see how he does here when we get down there and see where he is.”
The news isn’t as encouraging for defensive end LaMarr Woodley and safety Usama Young. Both are expected to be placed on injured reserve before the winless Raiders play the Browns. Woodley has a biceps injury while Young is out due to a knee injury.
Woodley, who signed a $12 million, two-year contract with the Raiders in the offseason, suffered what Sparano called a “serious” biceps injury during last week’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He has not practiced since and could be out for three to four months depending on the severity of the injury.
Young is headed for surgery on his left knee, which he hurt in the second half against Arizona. That’s a significant blow to the Raiders’ secondary, which already lost starting strong safety Tyvon Branch to a season-ending injury.
Asked if he expected to make roster moves with Woodley and Young, Sparano’s reply was quiet and solemn.
“We’ll make some moves here before the game,” Sparano said. “Probably be either tonight or tomorrow.”
With two spots open and one presumably going to Hayden, Sparano noted that the Raiders would likely promote someone from their practice squad.
Notes: DE Justin Tuck (knee) was given the day off by Sparano and is questionable. Tuck had practiced earlier this week and did not suffer a setback, according to the coach. … RT Khalif Barnes continued to take reps with the first-team offense but is still questionable with a quad injury.