The Oakland Raiders and their fans feared the worst when they learned earlier on Wednesday that left tackle Jared Veldheer had suffered a torn triceps muscle and would be out indefinitely.
However, we are now learning from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the injury is only a partially torn left triceps and Veldheer will be available for much of the season.
This is excellent news for the Raiders, who desperately need guys like Veldheer to stay healthy. He is one of the players that they simply cannot afford to lose, given that they are a team with so many new faces and unproven talent.
Veldheer is considered to be their best offensive lineman, and some believe he is their best player, despite his role. He has started all 16 games for the Raiders for the past three seasons, and has been a model of consistency.
Veldheer had a second MRI done on his triceps on Tuesday. The first one, which was on August 3, came back negative, but Veldheer still felt uncomfortable during practices.
Alex Barron, who the Raiders signed this offseason, will be the temporary starting left tackle until Veldheer returns. A former first round pick of the Rams, Barron started 74 games for St. Louis over five seasons.
He was traded to Dallas in 2010, and signed with the Saints the following year. However, injuries forced him to miss all of 2011, and Barron did not play at all last season after being released by the Seahawks in training camp.
Barron is undoubtedly a significant downgrade from Veldheer, who was heading into a contract year and apparently ready to take his game to a Pro Bowl-level.