For the second time this offseason it appears a young, promising Raiders player has walked away from a potentially tragic accident.
Back in March, it was linebacker Ben Heeney. The former Kansas standout who was a rookie in 2015 was driving to church on Easter with his family when he was involved in a head-on collision with another car after his own vehicle reportedly spun out of control after hitting a wet patch of road in snowy conditions. The SUV he was in was damaged significantly, but neither Heeney or anyone in either car was injured.
Now, Raiders tight end Clive Walford – a member of Heeney’s 2015 draft class – apparently suffered a knee injury in an ATV accident that occurred this offseason. According to Adam Caplan of ESPN, the injury occurred “a while back” and Walford was reported to have had a large gash on one of his knees, according to a source cited by Caplan, and had surgery.
However, Caplan reported that Walford already is making great progress in rehab following the injury and will be ready for the Raiders’ training camp in July.
According to a report by Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager of Fox Sports, the injury will sideline Walford during the Raiders’ spring practices. That’s a setback for a player who had a slow start to his rookie season because of summer training camp injuries, but came on strong over the second half of the season. He finished his rookie season with 28 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns, and the Raiders were hoping he could be a significant part of the offense – and play a bigger role – in his second season.
The specifics of the ATV accident have not yet been reported, but it appears Walford may have been fortunate.
“Walford is ahead of schedule in his recovery, according to multiple sources, and is expected back during training camp – perhaps for the start of it,” reported Garafolo and Schrager. “One source said the injury ‘may not be as bad as originally thought.’ ”