Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, following Sunday's 33-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, said that he has a fracture in his hand and will see a hand specialist on Monday to determine severity and, possibly, a timeline to return. Cincinnati initially called it a thumb injury in the first quarter. Head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed that Dalton will be out "for a bit", including Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. There's a possibility Cincinnati could be without their All-Star quarterback until the postseason.
With 5:06 remaining in the first quarter, Dalton targeted Giovani Bernard on a running back screen around the line of scrimmage. Defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt intercepted the football. Dalton clipped Tuitt's legs to make the tackle, colliding his throwing hand against Tuitt's knee and fracturing it in the process.
Dalton immediately sought trainers on the sidelines and after realizing he couldn't grip the ball, he knew something was significantly wrong. He was immediately taken to the locker room where the team announced he'd be out for the rest of the game.
Head coach Marvin Lewis announced Dalton would miss Sunday's game against the 49ers. For obvious reasons, there's a fear Dalton's absence could encompass the remainder of the regular season -- more clarity will be provided this week after seeing a hand specialist.
"When I got to the sidelines, I tried to grip the ball. I felt like it was a little bruise that I could try and get through. Then I went and got the X-Ray," Dalton said via Bengals.com. "Mentally I'm fine. It's unfortunate it happened at this point in the season. But I'll do everything I can to get back as quickly as I can to help the team. I'm doing all right. There are people way worse off than I am."
Backup quarterback AJ McCarron entered the game with 12:28 remaining in the second quarter, completing 22 of 32 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 90.6. With 6:33 remaining in the second quarter, McCarron hooked up with A.J. Green on a 64-yard touchdown throw, reducing Pittsburgh's lead 13-7.
Cincinnati will have to consider making a roster move this week, especially if Dalton is out for an extended period of time.
The Bengals won't go into their next game with only one quarterback on their active roster. Currently, Keith Wenning is on the team's practice squad, however a veteran quarterback would appear more logical and consistent with the Marvin Lewis era , which has typically seen a veteran quarterback on the roster.