Raiders lose Obi Melifonwu to 2nd surgery in 4 months

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Raiders lost their second-round pick to a second surgery in four months.

Rookie safety Obi Melifonwu was placed Friday on injured reserve for the second time this year. He underwent an arthroscopic knee procedure in late August, forcing him to miss the first eight games before being activated onto the 53-man roster.

His season is over for good following a Thursday hip surgery, coach Jack Del Rio said Friday. This is the latest chapter to a difficult year for the defensive back and team’s rookie class.

Melifonwu played 34 defensive snaps in 2017. Seven came during his Nov. 5 season debut against the Miami Dolphins. Amid season-long struggles at left cornerback, the Raiders made a surprising move following the ensuing bye week to start Melifonwu at the position against the New England Patriots in Mexico City.

It didn’t seem a fair assignment in which to ask him to succeed.

The 23-year-old exited in the first quarter because of breathing difficulties at the high-altitude Estadio Azteca. He returned but struggled, being pulled early in the third quarter after a deep 64-yard touchdown from quarterback Tom Brady to wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. two days later. Melifonwu played one defensive snap during the next three games. His focus now is recovery.

He joins cornerback Gareon Conley, the team’s first-round pick, on injured reserve. Conley was first sidelined in mid-June to a shin ailment. Rest and time proved ineffective remedies. He missed training camp, the preseason and Week 1 before playing in Weeks 2 and 3. The ailment still wasn’t right. Ultimately, he had surgery on Nov. 20.

Conley finished 2017 with 92 defensive snaps, putting the combined total for the Raiders’ top two picks at 126.

Aside from special teams, third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes has played 383 snaps this season. Fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe (three), fifth-round linebacker Marquel Lee (127) and four seventh-round choices — safety Shalom Luani (86), offensive tackle Jylan Ware (zero), running back Elijah Hood (zero) and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester (331) — round out the group.

Luani ranks second on the team with 242 reps on special teams.

Nicholas Morrow leads all Raiders rookies with 573 snaps, including 420 on defense. He went undrafted out of Greenville College, a Div. III school in Illinois.

And so, this largely amounts to a redshirt year for Melifonwu, who missed a good chunk of training camp, too, with an ankle injury. The Raiders had high hopes for him this offseason, hoping he’d be contribute immediately in their sub-packages, specifically to shadow an opponent’s top receiving tight end. Aside from brief work in Miami, the role never came to fruition.

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton (knee) was activated from IR to assume Melifonwu’s roster spot.

Hamilton said that he learned during Friday’s practice he’ll play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. He has missed the past eight games.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

Raiders Videos
NFL Draft Coming to Las Vegas in 2020 - Vegas Nation
The NFL Draft has been awarded to Las Vegas in 2020 as the Raiders move in. Michael Gehlken discusses what this means for the the city and the Raiders.
Vegas Nation: Osemele, Jackson miss practice on Thursday
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken explains the injuries to offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson, and who the Raiders have signed to the offensive line in response to those injuries.
Raiders vs Bengals Preview - Vegas Nation Mailbag
The Oakland Raiders will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Vegas Nation Mailbag host Elaine Emerson and sports columnist Ed Graney answer all of Raider Nation's burning questions about the upcoming game.
Vegas Nation: Raiders' final game in Oakland could come on Christmas Eve
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken brings up how the city of Oakland's antitrust lawsuit could spell an early end for the Raiders' occupancy in the city of Oakland.
Vegas Nation: Raiders fire GM Reggie McKenzie
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes what changes may come to the Raiders organization following general manager Reggie McKenzie's release on Monday.
Gruden on GM Reggie McKenzie's firing
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden reacts to Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie's dismissal on Monday.
Raiders Win Intense Game Against Steelers - Vegas Nation
The Raiders win against the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21. Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders victory.
Vegas Nation: Raiders sign C.J. Anderson
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken lists the multiple players heading to the injured reserve list, the Raiders signing three new players to the active roster, and the new drills the running backs are running in practice.
Raiders vs Steelers Preview - Vegas Nation Mailbag
The Oakland Raiders will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Vegas Nation Mailbag host Elaine Emerson and sports columnist Ed Graney answer all of Raider Nation's burning questions about the upcoming game.
Vegas Nation: Fumbles plague Raiders in loss to Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and highlights the uncertainty of many players returning from their injuries.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To The Kansas City Chiefs
Raiders fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 40-33. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Raiders loss to the chiefs.
Raiders players reflect on their loss to the Chiefs
Oakland Raiders' players Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Doug Martin reflect on what went wrong and talk about their performances in the team's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gruden, Carr on turnovers that cost the Raiders
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr spoke about the team's loss to the Chiefs following the game. The Oakland Raiders fell to 2-10 on the season when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at home, 40-33.
Vegas Nation: Leon Hall, others could miss game vs. Chiefs
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes over the team's final injury report before their game on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Raiders Honor Canyon Springs’ Gus McNair as High School Coach of the Year
The Raiders honor Canyon Springs Head Coach Gus McNair as the 2018 Coach of The Year. The Raiders present a check for $1000 to the school and surprise players with the gift of new cleats. (Kenton King/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Kareem Hunt physical altercation video surfaces
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes the potential ramifications of the Kareem Hunt video that surfaced on Friday, as well as the Raiders' final injury report before Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
Vegas Nation: Hill poses threat to Townsend, Raiders special teams
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken presents the challenges rookie punter Johnny Townsend could face this Sunday, as he hopes for a bounce back game against one of the most dangerous returners in football: Tyreek Hill.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Raiders fall to Ravens 34-17
The Raiders fell to 2-9 on the season after losing to the Ravens in Baltimore. Ed Graney and Elaine Emerson discuss the Raiders needs going forward.
Vegas Nation: DeAndre Washington, Raiders promote causes with cleats
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken goes into depth about the NFL's 'My Cause My Cleats" campaign, and the cause running back DeAndre Washington chose for the promotion.
Vegas Nation: Gruden encouraged by rookie tackles
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines Sunday's performances of the team's rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Baltimore Ravens
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto go over the Raiders 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Raiders Players Thanksgiving Dinner Donations
Donald Penn brought the tradition of "spreading the love" for Thanksgiving from Tampa Bay as said by Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Raiders players were donating turkey dinners to Oakland residents Tuesday night.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: How Will Raiders Perform Against Ravens
Raiders will face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and Review-Journal reporter Gilbert Manzano and Elaine Emerson go over what to expect from the game.
Vegas Nation: LaFell moved to IR, Hatcher returns
The Raiders move wide receiver Brandon LaFell to the injured reserve and re-sign preseason standout Keon Hatcher, as Michael Gehlken reports the corresponding moves from Alameda, Calif.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Beat Cardinals 23-21, Earn Second Win of Season
Raiders Kicker Daniel Carlson hit the game winning field goal as time expires to hand the Raiders their first road win of the Season.
Raiders players talk about the team's win over Cardinals
After the team defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, the Oakland Raiders players spoke about the victory in the locker room.
Gruden, Carr discuss the Raiders 23-21 win
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr speak to media after the Oakland Raiders defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium (Raiders)
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like