Travelle Wharton Determined To Return Stronger In 2013

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

With his season over before it began, Bengals guard Travelle Wharton is staying positive and promising to return in 2013.

"I’m just going to attack this surgery as if I was a 21-22 year old," Wharton said. "I just want to be healthy and attack this thing going into this rehab and surgery with an open mind and get through it.

Wharton knows what it takes to come back from an ACL tear, having torn the ACL and MCL in his other knee back in 2006. The 31-year-old Wharton could have surgery to repair the damage as early as next week. Clint Boling, a fourth-round pick in 2011, has stepped into the breech at left guard in the wake of Wharton's injury.

Wharton joins a depressingly lengthy list of players dealing with ACL, MCL and Achilles issues. One hopeful sign for Wharton is the progress of Patriots guard Logan Mankins, who had ACL surgery following the Super Bowl and was back in pads at practice yesterday after starting camp on PUP.

That, however, is in the future. In the now, questions about the Bengals' offensive line that fans thought were settled in March and April have re-emerged. Wharton, brought in to replace the inconsistent Nate Livings -- now a Dallas Cowboy -- has given way to Boling and made depth a question mark after just one preseason tilt. Over the past four seasons, tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith, as well as departed guard Bobbie Williams, all missed time due to injuries, and replacements like Dennis Roland, Anthony Collins, Boling and Mike McGlynn produced decidedly mixed results. To be sure, there's no reason to panic, but it's a frustrating way to begin what we all hope is a breakthrough season for a long-suffering franchise.

Get well, Travelle.

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