The Cincinnati Bengals have endured some pretty rough offseasons in terms of players recovering from injuries in recent years.
Last year, it was Tyler Eifert working his way back from offseason ankle surgery that ended up causing him to miss the first six regular-season games (more on him below). Starting tackle Cedric Ogbuehi also missed most of the offseason and preseason while battling various injuries. Position mates Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard spent much of the offseason recovering from shoulder surgeries that had them rusty for the start of the preseason.
This year, it looks like the Bengals will have most of their 90-man roster healthy and ready to rock by the time training camp begins on Friday.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Eifert is on pace to be cleared for the start of training camp on Friday. It’s unclear how much of a workload Eifert would get in practice if he is cleared, but just seeing him ready to compete would be great news for the Bengals. Taking a look at social media, Eifert does appear ready for action.
The star tight end has been recovering from back surgery, which kept him limited in OTAs. The Bengals will be super cautious with Eifert, being that he’s been injury prone throughout his NFL career. The last thing the team can afford is a setback, especially with Eifert entering a contract year.
Giovani Bernard has been recovering very well from the torn ACL suffered late last season. Bernard progressed far enough in his rehab that he was able to do work on the rehab field in OTAs, and it now looks like he could be cleared by Friday as well.
Another key offensive player that was sidelined for offseason workouts was John Ross. The first-round receiver is recovering from offseason labrum surgery and he missed OTAs while rehabbing (and also wasn’t even in Cincinnati due to the NFL’s quarter-system college rule). The good news is he was present for minicamp while watching from the side, though he’s yet to be fully cleared for practice.
Dre Kirkpatrick has been in and out of offseason workouts due to a broken hand. He missed most of OTAs with what was described as a minor injury, and the expectation is he’ll be ready to go on Friday.
Brandon Wilson was limited in OTAs with a knee injury. The issue was not believed to be serious, though he was never fully cleared to resume practicing during OTAs and minicamp. He does believe he’ll be ready to go on Friday.
J.J. Dielman is still recovering from a foot injury that ended his final season of college football prematurely. Dielman said he also expected to be cleared in time for the start of training camp.
Cethan Carter, T.J. Johnson and C.J. Uzomah spent part of OTAs time on the rehab field with undisclosed injuries, though they were able to get some full practice sessions in. Their status for training camp is unknown, but all of them should be fine.
2016 end-of-season injuries
As far as Bengals who ended 2016 with various injuries, we shouldn’t hear much about A.J. Green (hamstring), Clint Boling (shoulder), George Iloka (shoulder), Andrew Billings (knee) or Jeremy Hill (knee and shoulder), as all of them took part in OTAs. Williams and Boling have recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, while Billings recovered from his knee procedure following a meniscus tear in training camp last year. Green is recovered from the slight tear he had in his hamstring in Week 10 of last season. There’s also Brandon Thompson who was on Injured Reserve for all of last season due to a torn ACL in Week 17 of the 2015 season. He should be fully ready to go for day one of training camp, too.
Keep track at Cincy Jungle for the latest injury updates as training camp opens Friday.