One of the key strengths for the Cincinnati Bengals, heading into the 2012-2013 NFL season, was their depth at defensive back. Just recently, though that strength has turned into somewhat of a problem as Bengals first-round draft pick Dre Kirkpatrick injured his knee and is expected to miss six weeks. But, even though injury has struck one of the key Bengals players, there a few replacements in line, starting with CB Nate Clements.
Clements did tell the media however that he is still suffering from an abdominal issue that kept him out of all of the Bengals OTAs in June. On top of that, Leon Hall is also battling a lingering Achilles injury that has plagued him as far back as last season, thus meaning that half of the Bengals crop of expected starting corner-backs are now battling injuries heading into the 2012-2013 season. Not exactly the way you would like to start training camp.
On Wednesday Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis would not declare for certain that Kirkpatrick would be out for six weeks, and instead only offered up that the injury is, “a small thing”. Hall is expected to be a full go on Friday, but it is still to be determined on how effective he can really be this upcoming season. Clements, on the other hand, is being viewed as a huge risk this season. Clements is 32 years old, and coming off an injury such as an Achilles tear, at such an old age, is something that many athletes cannot get over.
“I’m doing what the trainers ask me to do,” Clements stated to the media. “I can’t put no timetable on it. It’s not really going slower than I thought, it’s just with these types of injuries you really have to take your time because a groin or hamstring injury can be one of those things that can keep lingering on.” After the slew of injuries that have affected the Bengals corner-backs only Adam Jones, Jason Allen, and Terrence Newman remain as legitimate healthy options. And based off of Newman’s career, calling him a legitimate option, and depending on him to 1) stay healthy, and 2) be effective at all, is a really huge risk. So, in essence, the Bengals really have only two options who they can rely on.
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