ALAMEDA – Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer is eligible to start practicing this week and playing after Week 8. That doesn’t mean he will.
Veldheer’s making steady progress rehabbing a surgically repaired triceps partially torn in training camp, but first eligibility is not his target date.
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“I don’t know if that’s a realistic goal or not, but I know he’s getting better,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “He is improving and he’s working extremely hard to get himself back out there.”
Veldheer’s rehab has been setback-free thus far, and he’s close to resuming football activity. It’s been over two months since he was place on injured-reserve with a designation to return, but he’s rehabilitating an injury that typically takes three months to revive.
“I haven’t hit any bumps in the road, and that’s a real positive,” Veldheer said. “I’m taking it day by day trying to get stronger and more mobile. As far as when I’ll be able to come back, I don’t know exactly where that will be. The progress is right there, and I’m working as hard as I can to get back on the field.”
The Raiders could use Veldheer as soon as possible, but he remains at least a month away from game action.
Veldheer is the team’s best lineman – arguably their best player – and he’s been sorely missed. Veldheer remains active in position meetings, but hates the fact he’s been away from the practice field for so long. It’s worn on him, but Veldheer’s remained upbeat and focused during the first major injury of his football career.
“We have a hard-working group and it’ll be great to be a part of that again on the field,” Veldheer said. “You can do some things in the classroom, but nothing compares to being out there with your guys on Sunday. It’s something I can’t wait for.”