We’re going to have to wait at least another week before the Bengals see the return of Tyler Eifert, their dynamic tight end who led his position in touchdowns last season (13), despite missing three starts due to injury.
It’s a frustrating feeling for the Bengals and their fans as Eifert has proven himself to be one of the most talented players at his position, but his history with injuries means the Bengals don’t get to utilize him nearly as much as they would like.
Earlier this week, Eifert looked on track to return against the Cowboys from his injury suffered in the Pro Bowl that kept him out for the first four weeks. He was limited in practice during the last two weeks, but barring a setback it looked like he would be ready. Then, it was reported that he suffered an injury to his back. It kept him out of practice all week, after it occurred while running a route on Monday, and it looked like it might stop him from making his Week 5 debut. On Friday, that fear was confirmed by Marvin Lewis.
Marvin Lewis confirmed that Tyler Eifert will not play this week vs. Cowboys. https://t.co/BqNKXuYLjv— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) October 7, 2016
Eifert’s back injury has been severe enough to keep him from practicing, so it wouldn't be a good idea to force him into action anyway. The Bengals could use the services of their biggest red zone threat, but Marvin Lewis explained this week why it’s better to take things slowly with the fourth year tight end.
“He’s got to practice and be confident and comfortable with everything,” Lewis said. “Any player that is returning from injury that is the most important thing. We are going on and doing fine, we have a lot of guys who can play and do that. When he’s ready to go he’ll be ready to go.”
Earlier this week, Lewis kept the mood optimistic by saying that Eifert had a chance to play on Sunday. He confirmed that Eifert did, in fact, have a sore back. But, if he could return to practice, the thought was that it would be better to put him back in action so that, at the very least, he could shake off the rust accumulated from the lengthy recovery of his offseason injury.
Unfortunately, we now know that his optimism was either mistaken or intentionally misleading. But, don’t try to convince Lewis that Eifert isn’t worth the trouble.
“I think Tyler unfortunately, he’s had a bad run of luck. There’s nobody who’s as conscientious about his body, as conscientious about being a pro,” Lewis said. “[Brian] Kelly told me right away from Notre Dame, people questioned certain things about him coming out and Brian assured me that those were not quite totally true and he would be everything we wanted. Which is what he has been. Unfortunately he’s had some injuries that have kept him out of playing but he’ll overcome them.”
Eifert’s back injury is considered day-to-day, so hope will now shift to him returning against the Patriots in Week 6.