The Bengals were a veritable group of walking wounded in their first preseason game of 2012. Four starters were injured in the first quarter of the game and didn't return. The severity of the injuries varied, with the most serious being Travelle Wharton's season-ending knee injury. The two least severe injuries were incurred by safety Taylor Mays and linebacker Rey Maualuga.
If you remember, Maualuga sprained his knee while making a tackle on Shonn Greene and Mays knocked himself woozy when he went for a huge hit on rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill. The once-grim sounding news appears to be brightening up a bit., as both players should be returning within the calendar week.
It's good news for both players as they are seemingly being pushed by players behind them for a starting roster spot. Mays has players like Robert Sands and rookie George Iloka breathing down his neck, though it appears to be Mays' job to lose at this point. Maualuga's job seems a bit more secure, but with Vontaze Burfict performing well on Friday and taking first team reps at practice on Sunday, the gap may be closer than many think--especially with Maualuga's injury history since joining the NFL.
We're expecting to see Mays get some game action on Thursday versus the Atlanta Falcons, though it's uncertain how much playing time he'll receive. It doesn't sound as if Maualuga will be playing Thursday and he'll join defensive end Carlos Dunlap and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a couple of players who will be held out.