OAKLAND -- Raiders offensive lineman Menelik Watson ruptured his left Achilles' tendon in Sunday night's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, the third-year pro wrote on his verified Twitter account just as the game ended.
Watson was slated to be the team's starting right tackle, and had a solid month of preseason work. An injury of this nature typically means a player is out for the season. That's the expectation in this instance.
"That was tough," head coach Jack Del Rio said. "That was a tough break for us. I think that the only major thing that occurred tonight. Really unfortunate. He was having a great camp for us. He played well for us. Good young man. He'll bounce back, but it's a big setback."
Watson has been plagued by minor injuries during his NFL career, but his recent healthy stretch led to improved play and a starting spot. That ended in the first quarter, when he got landed awkwardly while making a block in the first quarter. He needed help off the held and into the locker room after his left foot was examined by training staff.
Austin Howard stepped in for Watson on Sunday, and is expected to do so as the season moves on.
“First of all that sucks for him," quarterback Derek Carr said. "I love him as a man, football aside. I love that guy and I know that he’s going to be very encouraged. He’s not going to let this get him down or anything like that. I’ll be praying for him and a speedy recovery but it’s always next man up in this league. Austin came in, and he’s going to do a great job.”
Here's what Watson said Sunday night on Twitter announcing bad news, and then thanking fans for reaching out:
Ruptured Achilles' tendon... I Will be back stronger than ever that's a promise. Main thing is supporting the team right now. #RaiderNation— Menelik Watson (@MenelikWatson) August 31, 2015