Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Las Vegas Raiders star tight end Darren Waller reportedly avoided serious injury after exiting Thursday’s Thanksgiving matchup early against the Dallas Cowboys. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Waller’s MRI results revealed that he suffered a strained IT band in his knee.
Waller injured his back early in the 36-33 overtime win over the Cowboys and was listed as questionable to return. When he reentered the game, he injured his knee in the second quarter and did not return to action. He was seen working out on an exercise bike on the Las Vegas sideline, but in the third quarter he was seen in street clothes. A strained IT band is relatively good news compared to a different kind of knee injury that could have knocked Waller out for a significant amount of time.
Waller entered Thursday as the Raiders’ leading receiver, but was surpassed by Hunter Renfrow after his monster eight-catch, 134-yard performance. Interestingly enough, Derek Carr was able to find success through the air even without his versatile tight end, as the veteran DeSean Jackson caught three passes for 102 yards — including a 56-yard touchdown to start things off in the first quarter — and Zay Jones caught five passes for 59 yards on seven targets. In all, Carr threw for 373 yards and one touchdown in what was the most-watched NFL regular-season game on any network since 1990.
It remains to be seen if Waller will miss time with this injury, but Rapoport calls the results of his MRI “very good news.”