Starting cornerback Adam Jones is dealing with a foot injury that's hindered him for the past three weeks, and it's apparently bad enough that he'll miss Sunday, according to ESPN's Coley Harvey:
Bengals CB Adam Jones was seen in locker room with his right foot in a cast, and using a scooter. Has had foot injury last three weeks— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) December 9, 2015
Just spoke briefly with Bengals' Adam Jones. While on his scooter he says he isn't playing Sunday but is hopeful he can go next week.— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) December 9, 2015
Adam Jones just dropped by the locker room with a cast on his right ankle and swollen left eye, WOW #Bengals— Mark Slaughter (@MarkVSlaughter) December 9, 2015
While Jones injury suffered the injury to his foot in Week 10 against the Houston Texans, he hasn't been seen with a cast or scooter until now. That may indicate he suffered some kind of setback during this past Sunday's win over the Cleveland Browns.
Going into that game, Jones was listed as questionable to play after this foot injury caused him to miss two practices before he got a limited session in on Friday. The injury also cost him the Week 11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals before he returned in Week 12 in a win over the St. Louis Rams.
Now in his ninth NFL season, Jones has accounted for nine pass deflections, two interceptions and 54 total tackles in 11 games this season. He's in the running for a spot in the Pro Bowl and is having arguably the best season of his NFL career. This also comes in a contract year as the 32-year-old Jones gets set to hit free agency next March.
If Jones is really unable to play this week, it's a tough loss for the Bengals secondary going against an explosive Steelers offense. Jones was part of a great defensive effort during the Week 8 win in Pittsburgh that limited the Steelers to just 10 points while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw just one touchdown.
Since then, Roethlisberger has thrown 10 touchdowns in his last four games, including a four-touchdown effort this past Sunday in a 45-10 home win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Keeping Roethlisberger and receivers Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton contained is already a very hard task for any team. Without Jones, it may have just become even harder as the Bengals may now need to win Sunday's game in shootout fashion.
The man who would need to step up in Jones' absence will also be interesting to see. Rookie fourth-round pick Josh Shaw is dealing with a back injury after playing in the slot this past week in place of Leon Hall. If Hall returns this week, it may be best to put him out on the boundary and keep Shaw in the slot, if he plays. There's also the possibility of another corner being added to the roster this week via the practice squad or free agency.
Whatever happens, this is not an ideal scenario for the Bengals as they look to win the AFC North and earn a top-two seed in the AFC.
It's also worth noting, Jones posted a video of himself at an airport yesterday, so he may have gone to see an independent doctor regarding the injury.