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Bengals lose Michael Johnson to back injury vs Colts

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The Bengals lose one of their key defensive leaders.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have lost Michael Johnson to a back injury.

During the team’s Week 8 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, Johnson was forced from the game with a back injury. The team later ruled Johnson out after the halftime break.

Johnson has enjoyed a resurgent season in Cincinnati after it appeared father time had finally caught up with the 30-year-old defender. After spending most of his pro career at defensive end, Johnson has began playing more defensive tackle this season, a role he’s done very well in.

He still has the strength and power to win one-on-one battles, but his speed and explosion have dropped off considerably, making him ineffective as a pass rusher off the edge where those traits are more crucial.

The good news is with Johnson out, Chris Smith has been playing more versus the Colts, and he’s done very well. Smith has played sparingly this season, but he’ll be used a lot more if Johnson is out for a while.