After initial speculation that Darren Waller‘s season might be over due to the knee injury he sustained during the Raiders’ Thanksgiving Day win in Dallas, the team has received good news on its top pass-catching weapon.
Waller only suffered a strain to the IT band in his knee, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (on Twitter). Indeed, no major damage is believed to have occurred here, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets.
Waller may need to miss some time to recover, though even this is not certain just yet. Even if Waller needs to sit next week, this update represents good news for a Las Vegas team hoping to have something to play for as this season winds down.
The former reclamation project is on pace for his third straight 1,000-yard season, and given the turmoil the Raiders have gone through this year, he serves as a key constant for the team going into a pivotal stretch. Waller has racked up 53 receptions this season, turning them into 643 yards and two touchdowns.
Before leaving Thursday’s game early, Waller had only missed one game this season — against Philadelphia in Week 7. He initially left his team’s Thanksgiving game with a back ailment but returned before ultimately being forced out because of his knee. The Raiders managed to win without notable Waller assistance, halting their three-game skid.
With Waller out, Las Vegas would stand to look to Foster Moreau and Daniel Helm to cover the tight end position. The Raiders will look forward to a speedy Waller recovery, as they sit one game back behind the division-leading Chiefs and a half-game back of the Chargers in the competitive AFC West.