Hue Jackson said on Friday that Darrius Heyward-Bey and Carson Palmer were finally getting in sync and it would mean DHB would return to form against the Vikings. He started the game as Jackson suggested he would, but that return was stopped abruptly in the fourth quarter with DHB laying motionless on the field.
He had just caught his fourth pass of the game when Vikings’ linebacker EJ Henderson inadvertently hit him in the back of his helmet with his knee. The hit jerked Heyward-Bey’s head forward and knocked his helmet off. DHB then fell to the turf and laid there, unable to get up, for several minutes. Eventually a stretcher was brought onto the field and he was placed on a flat board and lifted onto a stretcher.
It was a very tense moment for both teams as no one was sure how severe the neck injury was. But tensions settled some as DHB gave everyone a thumbs up signal as he was wheeled off the field.
This was the first game in which DHB had caught a pass in a month. He was not targeted at all in last week’s win over the Chargers and saw just one target for an incompletion in the loss to the visiting Broncos two weeks ago.
When Carson Palmer arrived in Oakland prior to week seven, Darrius was the team’s number one receiver. He led the team with 434 yards receiving, and heading into the bye week had averaged 96 yards per game in his previous four.
Since Palmer has been the starter, his favorite target has been Denarius Moore who led the team in receiving yards last week with 123 yards and two touchdowns. His performance earned him the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award.
Now just as DHB has found his way back into the offense, he goes down with a neck injury.
It appears that there is good news, however, as all tests on Heyward-Bey’s neck have come back negative and he was able to return to Oakland with the team. He will wear a neck brace for now and there will be further tests on Monday. We’ll know more about his status for next week’s game at that time.
He caught 4 passes for 43 yards in the game.