Sure it’s only the preseason, but injury concerns are valid regardless of circumstances. The Cincinnati Bengals have far more than any team would want heading into their preseason opener as nine players will not make the trip to Atlanta. These early injuries would be a concern even if they were just depth guys, but the Bengals will be without some big names as they begin their preseason action.
Obviously the biggest of those on the shelf is wide receiver A.J. Green who tweaked his knee in practice on July 25 and has not seen the field since. The injury is described by the team as a “knee bruise” and head coach Marvin Lewis maintains that if the preseason opener on Thursday was a playoff game Green would be a go, but this is still cause for concern as the Bengals’ biggest offensive weapon is a must when the regular season begins. Hopefully these precautionary measures help Green to return to action sooner rather than later.
The concerns don’t end with Green, however, as wide out Andrew Hawkins is struggling with an ankle injury while knee ailments will keep offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson at home as well. Couple these issues with defensive end Carlos Dunlap’s reported concussion suffered on July 31 and the Bengals have some serious injury problems to overcome.
For a trendy sleeper pick by many as legitimate AFC contenders in the upcoming year, the Bengals are already facing their fair share of adversity. The team is expecting big contributions from all of these guys currently on the mend, and their ability to get back into the fold quickly will be paramount to the club’s chances as the regular season nears.
Clearly Green’s injury is the most concerning simply due to his importance to the offense, but each of these pieces has a role to play with the team. The Bengals need to hope their fortunes with the injury bug change quickly or this could be a long season of Hard Knocks for the team featured on HBO’s aptly titled show.