After an onslaught of injuries in training camp, the Bengals may finally be getting healthy at the right time.
Among the key players dealing with injury is Brandon LaFell. The veteran receiver has been in and out of practice over the past three weeks and missed both preseason games due to a torn ligament in his hand, which could lead to surgery.
However, LaFell looks like he'll skip that for now and play through the pain. According to Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson, LaFell is expected to play in the team's third preseason game vs the Jaguars on Sunday Night Football next week.
That's a good indicator LaFell won't undergo surgery to repair the ligament damage. If he were to, the recovery timetable would have LaFell missing around six weeks. That means he'd almost certainly miss the first three games against the Jets, Steelers and Broncos. He probably misses Week 4 vs the Dolphins since that comes on a short week in a Thursday Night Football affair.
The good news is surgery for a minor ligament issue isn't usually a season-ender, so LaFell should almost certainly being playing in the regular season for the Bengals this year. Players deal with all sorts of ligament issues all the time, and sometimes, it's minor enough that players can play through the issue.
And while LaFell might not seem like a big loss if he's out, the Bengals signed him this offseason in hopes he could bring a veteran presence with championship experience, while also adding to their receiver depth. LaFell was a major player in the Patriots run at Super Bowl XLIX, finishing the 2014 season with 74 catches for 953 yards and seven touchdowns.
But a foot injury derailed his 2015 season, causing him to miss the offseason training period and spend the first half of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He would play in just 11 games while making 37 catches for 515 yards in 2015.
Hopefully, we see LaFell healthy and have a 2014-type of season and not the 2015 numbers he put up.