ALAMEDA – Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer was back at practice on Wednesday afternoon, his first session since having triceps surgery this summer.
Veldheer was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return just before the regular season, and has missed each game recovering from a partially torn left triceps.
Veldheer’s participation (in a padded practice, no less) starts a 21-day practice window, after which the Raiders must decide whether to activate him or place him on season-ending injured reserve. The Raiders can activate him beforehand, although it seems highly unlikely, though not impossible, they’ll do so prior to Sunday’s game at Houston.
Veldheer participated in individual drills Wednesday as part of slow re-integration to full participation. It was, however, a positive step in Veldheer's recovery.
"This is the next step in the process," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said after practice. "You go through a normal rehab process and the next step is that you get in and you begin to go through some individual stuff. Then you get into team drills. The whole process is an evolution, and he continues to progress."
This is proof that Veldheer’s rehab progressed on schedule. He had surgery on Aug. 16 and recovered in the expected three-month timetable.
Veldheer saw a specialist in Los Angeles on Oct. 28, who cleared him for increased activity. The fourth-year veteran ramped up his conditioning at that point, to decrease the period between being cleared to practice and playing games. He was in treatment during the open locker room period and was not available for comment, but is expected to speak publicly on Thursday.
The Raiders need their starting left tackle -- arguably the team’s best player, regardless of position – but won’t risk injury relapse to rush him back.
"We'll continue to evaluate him as he goes through the week," Allen said. "We'll see when he's available to play. Hopefully it'll be soon."