NAPA – Gareon Conley is formally back to work. The talented Raiders cornerback returned to practice on Monday morning, his first session since July 27.
He suffered a hip strain on the first full-squad practice, an unwelcome setback for someone with zero injury history as an amateur who has been beset by injury as a pro.
He missed most of last season with a shin injury that required surgery, then missed two minicamp practices with a groin issue. Head coach Jon Gruden said Conley was "heart-broken" by his latest injury, which kept him out for roughly two weeks.
Conley was a regular at walk-through practices last week, and participated in a full warm up before Friday's preseason game against the Lions.
"He came back faster than anyone expected," Gruden said. "That's a credit to him and our training staff. We need him to get some work."
If Conley can stay healthy, there's plenty of preseason left to get ready for games that actually count. Conley is expected to start opposite Rashaan Melvin at outside cornerback.
He was limited somewhat, but participated in individual and team drills in his first padded practice of the year.
"I was surprised he had the full pads on," Gruden said. "We limited him, but we'll give him more and more each day as he gains confidence working in pads."
Also, edge rusher Arden Key and offensive tackle Brandon Parker returned to practice after missing time with injury.