The return of Tyler Eifert is getting closer.
How close remains to be seen, but the good news is Eifert continues to make progress toward an eventual return to action. During Monday's open locker room session, Eifert told the media his rehab is progressing well and has been running on a treadmill in a pool as well as lifting and getting multiple treatments per day. So far, he has had no setbacks and today, he will try to jog for the first time today at practice.
Eifert said rehab is progressing well. Still eyeing opener. Will try to run for first time today on rehab field during practice. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) August 22, 2016
Eifert says he's been lifting as well as getting multiple treatments per day and has had no setbacks.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) August 22, 2016
While this a great sign for Eifert's progress, it still leaves a lot of doubt that he'll be ready for full-contact NFL football in less than three weeks. If Eifert is just now getting back to jogging after being limited with any work over the past two months while being in a walking boot, it's hard to see him back for Week 1 vs the Jets and he admits he's not going to rush back.
"You can work as hard as you possibly can and you could be here for 24 straight hours but that's not going to help it move along faster," Eifert said via the Dayton Daily News. "You just have to trust the process and be patient with it and do what you can to get better."
Pediatrician and high school team physician Jene Bramel who writes for FootballGuys.com doesn't see a Week 1 return possible for Eifert.
Bengals have another two weeks to decide whether Eifert healthy enough for active roster. No chance he'll play W1. https://t.co/JR4RYdP24k— Jene Bramel (@JeneBramel) August 22, 2016
Still, it's good to see Eifert is getting closer to being fully healthy, something he's rarely been since 2014. This is the second-straight offseason that Eifert will have spent recovering from a major injury and subsequent surgery.
A torn shoulder labrum and dislocated elbow in 2014 forced him to miss all but one quarter of the season and much of the 2015 offseason, though he returned to have a Pro Bowl season in 2015.
During the 2013 season, Eifert missed a game due to a wrist injury. A stinger and concussion led to him seeing limited action at the end of the 2015 season as he finished with 13 touchdowns, which was still a team record for touchdowns by a tight end. Eifert also finished with 52 receptions for 615 yards on just 72 targets.
All of this is another reason why we shouldn't expect to see Eifert on the field Week 1. The Bengals will almost certainly be overly cautious with his return in order to avoid a setback. It's more important to keep him healthy long-term than have him on the field for the first regular-season game.