In what could be a major blow to hopes of Oakland proving their doubters wrong in 2013, left tackle Jared Veldheer was placed on the partial season injured reserve after his MRI came back Wednesday afternoon and revealed that the Raiders top offensive line talent would require surgery to repair an injured triceps.
The first MRI Veldheer underwent came back negative so Veldheer continued to play and even participated in Week One of the Raiders preseason against the Dallas Cowboys before his triceps continued to nag him this week at practice in Napa. So a second MRI was assessed and this time the problem was found and it was clear that a repair was needed, one that will sit Veldheer until at least Week 8.
Veldheer can return to practice in six weeks if all goes well under the rules for players placed on the partial IR list.
With the Raiders offensive line looking shaky in the first preseason game (starter Matt Flynn was sacked for a fumble amongst other protection gaffes) Veldheer’s loss removes one of the only high level talents at the disposal of the Raiders. Tony Sparano’s presence was supposed to help aid the Raiders line to work towards Darren McFadden’s strengths this season, but without Veldheer at the cornerstone position of left tackle they just might not have the talent.
Alex Barron now steps under the spotlight in Veldheer’s absence, going from essentially being unemployed to being a starting NFL left tackle overnight. Barron has been strong as a backup according to reports out of Napa and will have to step up his game even more in Veldheer’s absence. The hope is that Barron can perform capably as Veldheer rehab’s that injured triceps as quickly as possible to get back on the field as soon as the league will allow him to return which is Week 8. If that can happen Oakland will have its best case scenario, if Barron can’t perform, Raiders quarterbacks will have to watch out in 2013.