It's been a month now since Michael Johnson went down with what looked to be a major knee injury early on in training camp.
Thankfully, it turned out to be 'just' a sprained MCL. While that's not a season-ending injury, it can be of the season-hindering variety if not given enough time to rest and fully recover from. The Bengals aren't going to take any chances with a player as important as Johnson, and that's why it's possible Johnson won't be playing in Week 1 .
As Geoff Hobson notes, "it’s unclear if starting right end Michael Johnson is going to be ready for the opener." Considering Johnson was working on the rehab field, it's safe to think he's close to a return, but maybe not close enough that the Bengals think they need to risk his injury during the first week of the regular season.
Still, it's a little concerning there's not more positive news. Between the time Johnson would have suffered the injury (Aug. 2) and the regular-season opener at Oakland (Sept. 13), that's a 42-day (or 6-week) timetable we're looking at. The original prognosis was that he would be out for 4-6 weeks. If Johnson doesn't play next week, that could be a sign that his reported Grade 2 MCL sprain may be a little worse than what's been originally reported.