Aug 10, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Travelle Wharton (70) is carted off the field with an injury in the first quarter against the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
UPDATE: Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer relays word that head coach Marvin Lewis says that Wharton's injury "appears to be season-ending". It's the first we've heard that from Lewis since the injury occurred Friday night.
Clearly the headline from Friday's game wasn't so much the pass rush of Dontay Moch, the overall play of Dan Skuta, the effective rushing effort by Cedric Peerman or the unresolved competition at the No. 2 wide receiver position. It's the lasting impact of the injuries suffered during Cincinnati's 17-6 win over the New York Jets. Rey Maualuga and Carlos Dunlap suffered knee sprains, but they're not going to miss much time (if any) during the regular season (we'll know more in the coming days). Taylor Mays left the game with a hit to the noggin.
Those injuries weren't the most serious. That title belongs to starting left guard Travelle Wharton. After the game Geoff Hobson wrote that Wharton "grimly stood on crutches outside the MRI room at PBS at halftime". You knew it was serious when Wharton was clutching his knee after Andy Dalton's incomplete pass through Jermaine Gresham's overstretched hands on third down with 12:21 remaining in the first quarter. As soon as the training staff reached the guard, the cart was already in-route. They wasted little time.
Hobson writes that that "fear is he has suffered a season-ending right knee injury". If that's the case Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer suggests that the Bengals could look at free agency for a veteran guard. Perhaps not as a starter but as a means to rebuild the depth while Otis Hudson and Clint Boling battle for the starting job. Hudson is listed as Wharton's backup on the team's website, however Boling took most of Wharton's snaps Friday night.
Wharton signed a three-year deal this offseason worth $10 million with $4 million due the first season.