"He will not play the first game. I'm going to put it that way," Rivera said. "I'm not going to say he's going to start on PUP. He will not be ready for the first game."
Young is currently rehabbing from a torn ACL, which he suffered in the Commanders' Week 10 victory of the 2021 season in early November. Both he and Rivera said throughout the offseason that Young's recovery was going as planned but have neglected to put a timeline on the pass rusher's return to the field.
Rivera reiterated on Friday that Young is "on track," but his rehab is now going to trickle into the start of the season.
"It's unfortunate. But it was a serious injury, obviously, with surgery, and he's doing everything he's supposed to," Rivera said. "He's on time as far as where the doctors think he should be, and as he gets better and better we can update you. But right now, he's right where he needs to be."
Young, along with Chase Roullier, Logan Thomas and Tyler Larsen, were placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to begin training camp. Only Roullier has returned to action so far.
If Young were to start the season on the PUP list, he'd be required to miss the first four games of the regular season. Prior to 2022, players that began the season on PUP would miss the first six games of the year, but that number was trimmed down to four this past offseason.
The Commanders could also move Young to Injured Reserve, which would also require a minimum four-game absence. Young would have to move from PUP to the 53-man roster during final roster cuts first, though, before being moved to IR. If the Commanders placed Young directly on IR prior to final roster cuts, his 2022 season would be over.
Asked if both PUP and IR were options for Young, Rivera said it's too early to tell. The head coach, once again, refused to put a timeline on Young's return.
"It just depends on where he is. I can't tell you," Rivera said. "The doctor is the only one that can tell you."
Even though Young will miss the start of his third professional season, Rivera is proud of the work the pass rusher has done so far.
"That evaluation was very good. The young man's done a hell of a job to get himself where he is today," Rivera said. "The doctors are very pleased with where he is today. Everything is going about as good as we can expect it, and we'll see."
Defensive tackle Daron Payne said that although Young is sidelined, he's been watching film with the rest of the unit and staying involved as much as possible. When Young is able to return, it'll just be about "getting a feel" for rushing alongside Payne, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat.
Payne later added that he believes Young is eager to remind everyone of just how talented of a pass rusher he is.
"I feel like it's just a mindset thing, and Chase, he's got a real good head on his shoulders," Payne said. "I feel like he's just ready to get back out there and show everybody what he's got."
Rivera's final thought on Young was clear, too: the 23-year-old won't return to action until he's fully cleared to do so. The Commanders won't rush him back, regardless of how long his recovery process takes.
"Yeah. Believe me," Rivera said. "That's where the doctors come in."