The long road to recovery has taken a big step forward for wide receiver James Wright.
On Monday, the Bengals announced that Wright had been cleared to practice and will come off the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list. The Bengals put him there on July 26, days before the team reported for training camp, but it looks like Wright will have only missed three light sessions if he's able to go on Monday, which is the team's first fully-padded practice.
Wright, who is classified as a third-year player, was a 2014 seventh-round draft selection out of LSU. Though no one projected Wright to be drafted, the Bengals liked his special teams impact, as well as his potential to become a solid NFL receiver after playing behind the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry at LSU.
Back in 2014 as a rookie, Wright played 11 games and recorded five catches for 91 yards and three rushes for 30 yards. A PCL injury that prematurely ended his season occurred in Week 13 against the Buccaneers, a game in which Wright caught three balls for 59 yards (19.7 average) with a long of 30. It was his best game of the season, and unfortunately, he hasn't played football since.
After missing all of 2015, it was revealed that Wright underwent microfracture surgery, which cost him all of his second NFL season. It makes sense given the timetable for recovery from that surgery is 6+ months, so instead of the Bengals putting him on PUP last season, the team just waived him and got him back onto their I.R. list.
The surgery occurred right before the 2015 season began, and the recovery from it kept Wright out for most of the offseason workouts this year. This is the same surgery Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had in January 2015, before returning to play his first game on November 1, 2015.
Now, Wright will look to earn a spot on the 53-man roster as one of the final receivers. Depending on how healthy and back to his old self Wright is, he may not only make the final roster with ease, but could find himself in the top four receiver rotation.