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Bengals decision to place Burfict on PUP could have gone "either way"

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Burfict will be eligible to return to the Bengals for Week 8 in Pittsburgh.

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Among the roster moves made by the Bengals on Saturday, was placing Vontaze Burfict on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Burfict officially will not play or practice for the first six weeks of the season. Since the Bengals have a Week 7 bye, the Week 8 game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers will be Burfict's first opportunity to return to the field with the Bengals. Burfict will need to be medically cleared at that time to play..

After the Bengals announced their 53-man roster, head coach Marvin Lewis talked to the media about the decision:

"It was a really difficult decision and one, frankly, that could have broke either way," Lewis said Saturday afternoon. "I think really what came down in the end is the best thing for Vontaze's future is for us to make sure we give him enough time and not rush him back on to the field."

The hope is, having Burfict sit out for the first six weeks of the season will ensure he can get the full conditioning period he needs following January microfracture surgery.

"He's done the rehab part, but he's not been able to progress," Lewis continued. "When it's time, in six weeks, he's ready to go 100 percent. He's got both the football-cardiovascular done, he's got the rehab done and he's 100 percent going forward rather than trying to kind of fudge it in any way. Which is hard, because he has worked hard. We know what he means to the football team. It's a difficult thing to do for him. But we had a candid conversation about it, that this was a hard call but it's one we're going to make right now."

Giving Burfict until November 1 to fully heal will put the timetable at about 10 months from the time of his surgery to the time he gets back on the field. The return from microfracture is different in each person, so what to expect when he does return remains to be seen.