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AJ McCarron injury shedding light on Bengals misdirection with injuries

Is AJ McCarron's injury serious? Probably not, but with the Bengals, you can never be too sure.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are one of the NFL's most notorious teams when it comes to providing details on injured players.

We're all being reminded of that with whatever injury backup QB AJ McCarron is dealing with. On Monday night,'s Geoff Hobson reported that McCarron was dealing with an injured rib cage suffered in practice earlier that day. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson later came out and said McCarron was "sore" and should be back soon.

Now, Hobson is reporting McCarron has a chest strain that's still not believed to be serious, but still he may not play Friday. And of course, the Bengals and McCarron are being coy and not letting on to what the actual injury is.

"I know it’s important, but like the guys have been telling me and the coaches I’ve talked to, if I’m  not 100 percent there then there’s no reason to push it," McCarron said before Wednesday's practice. "Because just in case, God forbid, I’m needed during the season or what, most of the guys and coaches said I feel like I’ve done a good job showing what I can do. There’s no reason to take a risk on delaying that process. I’m bummed out over it, but I’m taking their advice and doing what they tell me to do."

This is just the latest example of why anything the Bengals coaches, particularly Marvin Lewis, and players say regarding injuries has to be taken with a grain of salt, and there's frankly nothing wrong with that. The most successful NFL teams of the past decade typically are silent when it comes to injuries. This includes the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick, who are even more notorious than the Bengals when it comes to how much info they put out regarding injured players.

The media and fans can complain all they want about not knowing what's really going on, but it also keeps opponents on their heels every week and can provide a tactical advantage for teams with injured players to not reveal much information. Whether said advantage is even remotely helpful, this is a league where, as we've seen with the Patriots and deflated footballs, any kind of extra edge teams can get on their opponents is something they'll look to get.

The Bengals are simply doing what they think can help them continue to win double-digit games and make the playoffs like they've done a lot of recently.

Hopefully, their latest injury coyness is nothing to worry about with McCarron. It doesn't sound like it's anything serious, but with the Bengals, you can never be too sure. Whatever it is, don't expect to see McCarron's preseason debut this week.