Raiders’ Darren Waller Reveals Current Injury Status & Target Date for Return

darren waller

Getty Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller.

The Las Vegas Raiders are starting to heat up following back-to-back wins over the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, and major reinforcements could be on the way. Pro Bowlers Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller were placed on Injured Reserve prior to Week 10 and they are both eligible to return following this week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The offense has played well this season but it has missed two of its best players for a big chunk of the year.

There’s been much speculation about Waller’s status in recent weeks. The Raiders haven’t said much and there’s even been talk that he could be out of the season. However, that is not the case. In an interview with Heavy Sports, Waller revealed that he’s recovered from his hamstring injury and is planning to be ready to play as soon as he’s eligible to.

“Yeah, I plan on playing this season,” Waller said when asked if he was ready to return. “If they tell me I’m playing this Thursday coming up, then I’m playing this Thursday coming up, so I have my first game back active from IR so I plan on playing it up and finishing strong.”

The earliest Waller can play is against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football next week. The team might want to give him more time on the practice field to get up to speed but as far as his health goes, he believes that he’s made close to a full recovery.

“The last four weeks have really allowed me to be able to heal and not have more of a minor setback that I was having when I was getting close to being back out there. So I feel more ready to compete,” Waller said.

Waller Explains Why He Had a Setback

The initial injury Waller suffered early in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. The hope was that he’d only miss a game or two. However, hamstring can be unpredictable and he learned that the hard way. The Raiders eventually made the decision to place him on Injured Reserve, which has given him enough time to make a full recovery.

Waller went into detail about what happened in practice that set him back.

“You know, before you’re able to get back out there playing the game, you got to be able to add a workload of a week of practice, and I was able to go out there Wednesday and then Thursday came where I was doing a good load on my legs two days in a row,” Waller said. “It was hard for me to put multiple days together and so I was close, I made it through all the practice but there was a deep play where I went downfield and I had to do a couple of extra digs to get to a deep pass in one-on-ones, and just kind of tightened back up on me. My body just wasn’t ready to go yet. And so that’s what prompted them putting me on IR, so it just allowed me a chance to get healthy and be able to give all I got with the team that we have left in the season.”

For his part, Waller isn’t thrilled with how his season has gone. He’s been very frustrated with the recovery process and wants to get back on the field with his teammates.

“Yeah, definitely, definitely frustrating, wanting to be out there and just be one of the guys, be a teammate, be a friend out there with those guys and just be in the battle,” Waller said. “I want to be out there. And I know that with my presence, I provide a lot. So definitely nothing exciting about being in the situation I’m in, but I’d have to just change my mindset, my perspective. How do I continue to grow in this time? How can I continue to add value to this team’s organization, to people one on one when I have conversations with seeing if I can encourage them in any way? So yes, it was for sure a frustrating process, and I’m just looking forward to getting back out there.”

Waller hasn’t been able to practice with the team in weeks due to being on the Injured Reserve but he’s been putting in work and revealed that he’s not feeling any lingering effects from the hamstring injury.

“Pretty much 100%,” Waller said when asked how his hamstring feels. “In the last couple of weeks, I really ramped up the workload. Three days on the field last week, and then I have my fourth tomorrow, this week. So I’m able to handle those workloads like I was talking about earlier, and I’ll be ready to go whenever they ask me to.”

Waller Doing His Part to Honor the Military

Since becoming a household name in the NFL, Waller has done a lot of work to give back to the community and the military. He’s partnered with USAA in the past to help celebrate active-duty military and veterans. He’s now decided to take part in the My Cause My Cleats campaign that helps honor the military on the field. Unfortunately, his status on the Injured Reserve doesn’t allow him to don the cleats on the field yet but that’s not stopping him from showing his love to the military.

“Yeah, so I’m partial to USAA. I was able to attend that event that they had in Vegas during the draft,” Waller said. “And I was able to partner up with them again, for the food service portion of My Cause My Cleats. … We just did the Wounded Warrior Project and I was really able to get to know some of those people from their stories and mental health journeys. And really just fellowship and break bread and just have a good time. So I just really wanted to give them the proper respect that they deserve on the cleats, as well. wanted to shout out all six military branches, as well. And also, my cousin Master Sergeant Mary Griffin served in the army for 20 years. I wanted to give her a big shoutout, let her know I love her, as well. So this really turned out to be an amazing project and I’m glad to be a part of this.”

Read More