clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Week 9 Bengals vs Browns: Andre Smith out vs Browns; Rey Maualuga, Carlos Dunlap questionable

New, comments

This could be the first time in which the Bengals are missing three starters in a game this season.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals managed to make it through the first seven weeks of the season with few significant injuries, but that changed against the Steelers.

The Bengals could be without three key starters Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. Starting right tackle Andre Smith has been ruled out and starting defensive end Carlos Dunlap and starting linebacker Rey Maualuga have been deemed questionable to play.

Smith is dealing with a concussion suffered during the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's now in the NFL's concussion protocol, and there was little hope he'd be able to clear it in time to play in a Thursday game. The good news is the Bengals won't play again until November 16, giving him two weeks between the day he suffered the concussion and the Monday night game vs the Houston Texans to recover. The scary thing is, Smith has had several concussions in his career, his most recent during the 2014 preseason.

Maualuga is dealing with a calf injury suffered during the first half of Sunday's game; the injury kept him out for the rest of the contest. If he misses Thursday vs the Browns, expect rookie linebacker P.J. Dawson to be active and help replace the snaps lost by Maualuga. Vontaze Burfict is also back, though it's unclear how much the Bengals want to play him in just his second game back from offseason microfracture surgery following only four days of rest. Burfict has not been on this week's injury report meaning he's been a full participant in practice.

As for Dunlap, his injury was the least severe of the three. He suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter Sunday, but eventually returned to finish the game. The good news is, Dunlap was able to practice in a limited capacity this week during each practice. Still, he's listed as questionable, not probable to play.

If Dunlap doesn't play, this could be the first time we see rookie defensive lineman Marcus Hardison active this season. A fourth-round pick out of Arizona State in the 2015 NFL Draft, Hardison has yet to be a gameday active this season. He played both defensive tackle and end his final season at ASU, which is exactly what he played in the preseason for the Bengals. If he plays Thursday, he'd be more used at end to help offset the loss of Dunlap. It's also possible that second round 2013 draft pick, Margus Hunt would be the player to fill in for Dunlap if he doesn't play on Sunday. Hunt also has not been active in a game yet this season.