Tyler Eifert’s much-anticipated return won’t come in Week 5 when the Bengals play the Cowboys, but according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, “there’s a chance” Eifert will suit up against the Patriots in Week 6.
Bengals believe there’s a chance TE Tyler Eifert, who didn't make trip to Dallas, will return next Sunday at NE, per team official.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 9, 2016
Eifert originally injured his ankle in January’s Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The injury occurred when Eifert was being targeted on a pass in the fourth quarter by Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. Eifert nearly made the catch, but the ball popped out as he hit the turf.
Eifert appeared to be in pain following the play limped off the field. Moments later, he was seen with ice wrapped on his foot on the sidelines as trainers checked him out; he didn’t return to the game. The hope after the injury was that it wasn’t major and that it would heal on its own without surgery.
“Eifert had it examined today. All he needs is rest. He'll be ready for any off-season work,” Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson reported on February 2.
That didn’t prove to be accurate though as in May, five months after the Pro Bowl, it was determined that Eifert would need surgery after all to repair the damage caused by the injury. A three month recovery timeline was set, putting his availability right around Week 1.
We now know that also wasn’t true as it’s Week 5 and Eifert has only practiced in a limited role, which he began doing on September 21. On Monday of this week, during a practice that was closed to the media, Eifert suffered a back injury which eliminated any chance of him returning against the Cowboys.
That back injury is now considered day-to-day, but per Schefter, there’s a chance Eifert will make his return in Week 6. That will be a big game as the Bengals make a tough trip to New England to face Tom Brady in his first home game since his Deflategate suspension.