ALAMEDA -- D.J. Hayden was the feel-good story of the NFL draft when the Raiders selected him at No. 12 in April. Now they must hope the first chapter of the cornerback's Oakland career -- abdominal surgery after injuring himself last week -- marks only a minor setback rather than a recurring theme.
Hayden made a miraculous recovery from a torn inferior vena cava suffered last November during a practice at the University of Houston. He not only survived a surgery to repair a vein carrying blood to the heart but also became a first-round draft pick.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen said the club had been given full medical clearance on a player who had his sternum split open in order to repair the damage.
A Raiders spokesman said Hayden was admitted to an undisclosed local hospital last week and underwent a procedure to remove scar tissue from his abdominal region. Allen said he wasn't sure if the condition had anything to do with the November surgery.
"We can't rule that out, obviously, but right now I don't know exactly what the correlation is to it," Allen said. "But we don't anticipate it being an issue."
The ascension of Hayden to the role of starting cornerback instead will have to wait. The rookie will miss the rest of the Raiders' offseason program, including the full-squad mandatory minicamp, with the hope being he'll be ready when training camp begins July 25.
"It's obviously not a good thing, from a football standpoint," Allen said. "As a rookie, you need all the reps you can get and all the work you can get."
Dr. Walt Lowe, Hayden's doctor at the University of Houston, told the Los Angeles Times that abdominal surgeries of that type take approximately six weeks to heal. That time figure would put the Raiders a week into training camp before Hayden was available.
Lowe was not the doctor who performed the abdominal surgery on Hayden.
Messages left with doctors at the Texas Trauma Institute, which did the original surgery on Hayden, were not returned, nor were requests to speak with Hayden's agent, Graylan Crain.
Hayden participated in practice last week, when the Raiders began their organized team activities. Allen said Hayden's symptoms surfaced soon thereafter.
"My stomach hurts so bad right now," Hayden said via Twitter on May 20, the first day of the OTA.
Safety Usama Young said he was on the field with Hayden at the start of practice and sensed something wasn't quite right.
"You could tell he was under the weather," Young said. "I thought that's what it was -- he was under the weather ... it took me by surprise. I didn't think he was that sick."
Young said he communicated with Hayden via text message and that Hayden said he is doing "a lot better."
Defensive back Charles Woodson is back on the practice field with the Raiders. PAGE 2