NFL

Raiders designate Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow to return from injured reserve; both could play vs. Patriots

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USATSI

The Raiders are technically still in the AFC playoff hunt, though Week 14’s loss to the Baker Mayfield-led Rams did not help their cause. They may, however, get big-name reinforcements as soon as this Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots. Coach Josh McDaniels announced Wednesday that tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow have been designated to return from injured reserve, and both players have a chance of suiting up in Week 15.

Waller has missed the Raiders’ last five games due to a hamstring injury, after previously missing most of the summer with a similar issue. Renfrow, meanwhile, has played just six games this year, missing time with a concussion and now returning from separate rib and hamstring injuries. Both veterans went on IR in early November, which guaranteed a four-game absence, and now have 21 days to be promoted to the active roster, or else they’ll be out for the rest of the season.

McDaniels did not confirm that either veteran would play against New England but left the door open for their activation. When healthy in the past, the two pass catchers have been favorite targets of quarterback Derek Carr. Waller logged back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons from 2019-2020, while Renfrow eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in 2021, earning a $32 million extension this summer.

Waller would instantly reclaim his starting tight end job if he’s back on the field, replacing backup Foster Moreau. Renfrow would be a bit more difficult to project. Typically he’s served as a starter, and opened the year opposite No. 1 Davante Adams in the lineup. But reserve Mack Hollins has spent the last month settling in as one of Carr’s primary options out wide, entering Week 15 with a career-high 47 catches for 588 yards and three touchdowns on the year.



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