The Bengals are getting set to face the Lions in a Thursday night affair. Following the end of training camp, a number of key players are getting the night off as they nurse injuries.
Among the players not expected to play tonight are cornerback Darqueze Dennard, cornerback William Jackson III, defensive tackle Andrew Billings, defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, tight end Tyler Eifert, tight end Tyler Kroft, offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, wide receiver Brandon LaFell, linebacker Vontaze Burfict, and wide receiver Mario Alford.
Of those names, the most obvious two are Billings and Jackson, both of whom are expected to open the year on Injured Reserve (I.R.). It looks like Billings is done for the year, while Jackson may get the designation to return from I.R. later in the regular season.
The Bengals also remain without their top two tight ends in Eifert and Kroft. Eifert is probably out for several more weeks while recovering from ankle surgery. Kroft is dealing with a knee injury that should keep him out until right before Week 1 of the regular season at the earliest.
Ogbuehi is sitting out due to a toe injury that also may keep him out until closer to Week 1. LaFell is dealing with a torn ligament in his hand that could sideline him for six weeks if surgery is performed. He is waiting a few more days to see if he can play through the injury.
As for Burfict, he’s not playing in any preseason game this year. Marvin Lewis doesn’t want the Pro Bowl linebacker to suffer an injury before missing the first three regular-season games.
There will undoubtedly be several more players who don’t play tonight due to either minor injuries we’ve not heard of, or simply getting some extra rest. We also won’t see most, if not all of the injured Bengals present on the sideline for this game. They’re likely staying back in Cincinnati to rehab their various injuries.
For the starters who do play, expect to see them get a full quarter of work, if not a little more.