UPDATE: Dennard has a sprained ankle.
Lewis says Dennard has sprained ankle. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) August 2, 2016
The Bengals secondary is already getting hit hard on the injury front.
Reports suggest that William Jackson III may be out for most, if not all of the 2016 season after tearing his pectoral muscle during Monday's practice. Now, we know Darqueze Dennard was also injured Monday, though it doesn't sound quite as serious.
Local 12's Richard Skinner reports Dennard was not seen during Tuesday's open locker room period, and he left Monday's practice early when he "tweaked" his ankle, according to Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. This is certainly a concerning story in light of the Jackson news, as the Bengals cannot afford to lose another corner, especially less than one week into training camp.
Dennard is not on the field today practicing.
Defensive players not practicing for #Bengals today: Jackson, Dennard, Burfict, Thompson, Roach, Peko (vet day) pic.twitter.com/e1NMXeUpBY— Richard Skinner (@Local12Skinny) August 2, 2016
The hope is that Dennard will step up and take on a bigger role this season after showing flashes through his first two years. The former 24th-overall pick out of Michigan State was Bengals' first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but like most young players, has played seldomly through his first two seasons.
That's the approach Cincinnati took with fellow corner Dre Kirkpatrick, who rarely saw the field as a rookie and not much more during his second year before finally emerging over his next two seasons before earning a full-time starting spot in his fourth season.
But just as it appeared Dennard was emerging last season, his season ended prematurely thanks to a major shoulder injury suffered in Week 11 vs the Cardinals. It was a similar injury to what Dennard had in college, and after a surgical procedure to repair the damage, Dennard missed OTAs this offseason before returning to the field for the first day of training camp.
If healthy, Dennard figures to be the starting slot corner in 2016 with Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick on the boundary.