Darrius Heyward-Bey Injury: Updates on Raiders WR's Status and Fantasy Value

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Darrius Heyward-Bey #85 of the Oakland Raiders lays on the field after getting hit hard in their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers  at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey left Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after receiving a vicious shot from Steelers safety Ryan Mundy in the end zone.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Oct. 3rd at 2:25 p.m. ET

While it's unclear whether or not Darrius Heyward-Bey will play this Sunday vs. the Falcons, DHB is back at practice, according to the Raiders' Twitter. 

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey @thedhb85 is back practicing with the team.

— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) October 2, 2012

The Raiders will be looking to bounce back after being embarrassed by the Broncos in a 36-7 loss last week. While DHB's return isn't certain at this point, it's definitely encouraging to see him back at practice. 

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 30 at 2:47 p.m. ET by Jessica Isner

The Raiders have released their official inactives list on NFL.com, and as expected, Darrius Heyward-Bey is on it. 

This serves as official confirmation that the team is still proceeding with caution in the wake of that nasty hit Heyward-Bey took last week against the Steelers. 

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UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 29 at 5:00 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

Darrius Heyward-Bey will not be playing in the Raiders game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The team's Twitter announced that he had been ruled out of Sunday's matchup.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and TE Richard Gordon have been downgraded to "out" for tomorrow's game.

— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) September 29, 2012

After the scary hit he took during last week's game, the team is wisely remaining cautious with the wide out. 

---End of update---

UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney

Unsurprisingly, Darrius Heyward-Bey missed practice on Thursday. The news comes from csnbayarea.com's Paul Gutierrez:

Tight end Brandon Myers practiced, though he has yet to be fully cleared for contact, and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey missed his second straight day of practice.

Heyward-Bey's concussion/neck injury is a serious matter, and it's good to see the Raiders not attempting to rush him back to the playing field, even though he's an important cog to their offense.

We'll keep you updated as more is known regarding DHB's health.

---End of update---

Heyward-Bey was eventually carted off the field, but his status has improved in the past day. According to San Francisco Chronicle reporter Vic Tafur, Heyward-Bey has a concussion and a strained neck.

If you missed the hit, check out this scary situation:

Tafur also states that, "Heyward-Bey was released from the hospital Monday, a day after being knocked out by a helmet-to-chin hit. Allen said he will make a complete recovery, but there is no timetable as to when he might return to the field."

Raiders head coach Dennis Allen shed some specifics on his receiver's current status:

“The concussion is obviously the bigger issue than anything else right now. He’s a guy that we’re going to have to continue to evaluate and see where he’s at. We were all pleased to see that it wasn’t anything severe as far as neck injury or anything like that.”

That's certainly good news. Heyward-Bey could be much worse off. It seems safe to rule him out of Oakland's Week 4 contest against Denver, and the Raiders have a bye in Week 5. That will give their dynamic receiver a chance to rest, get healthy, and possibly return against Atlanta in Week 6.

If this speedy vertical threat is on your fantasy roster, you will have to approach these next few weeks with caution. Even when he does return to the lineup, it could take him a few games to get completely up to speed.

Head, and neck injuries are nothing to take lightly, and the Raiders coaching staff will likely ease him back into the mix.

According to ESPN, Heyward-Bey is owned in nearly 85 percent of standard-scoring leagues. If he's on your roster, and one of your regular starters, moving him to the bench for the time being would be a wise idea.

He has nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown so far this season. He hasn't been a massive fantasy producer, but he has been targeted 18 times. Don't drop him, just expect to be patient.

No timetable could mean any number of things. Allen and the Raiders should take a cautious approach by giving their WR the next two weeks off.

Keep an eye out for more updates concerning Heyward-Bey's status.