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Paul Guenther hopeful Vontaze Burfict ready for season opener

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Burfict may even be ready to play in a preseason game or two, which is speculation at this point, but positive speculation, so we'll take it.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

As OTAs wrap-up, one of the biggest storylines surrounding the Bengals is the health of Vontaze Burfict.

The Pro Bowl linebacker continues to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired knee, which went through dreaded microfracture surgery this offseason. Because the surgery came in January, the timetable for his return puts him right on the cusp of missing the start of the regular season.

However. Geoff Hobson reports the Bengals continue to be optimistic with Burfict's recovery to the point they plan on him playing in preseason games.

Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict probably won’t be there that first day of camp, which has yet to be set, but defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is banking on his leader to be there for the opener in Oakland. Taped on the wall above Guenther’s desk are a couple of sheets stapled together called, "The Burfict Plan,’ which culminates with him playing Sept. 13 against the Raiders as he comes back from January’s micro fracture knee surgery.

The plan calls for Burfict to be back in time to play a pre-season game or two in preparation for the regular season.

That's notable for two reasons:

  1. The fact that the coaches think he'll be able to play in a preseason game or two shows they do believe he can be ready by Week 1, something that seems like a longshot for someone who had microfracture surgery in the same calendar year.
  2. If Burfict practices, he won't be allowed to go on the physically unable to perform list which keeps him from playing or practicing for the first six weeks of the regular season.