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Bengals TE Tyler Eifert dealing with minor tendinitis issue

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Eifert could have played in Cincinnati’s third preseason game, but the team opted for caution as the regular season draws near.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t sound the Tyler Eifert alarm just yet, but the star tight end does have a minor issue he’s battling through.

After getting a full week of practice in, Eifert was a surprise scratch in the Cincinnati Bengals’ preseason clash with Washington. Eifert dressed and went through warmups, but the team announced he was among the players not expected to play, which is essentially the preseason inactive list.

The initial belief was Cincinnati simply held Eifert out to prevent him from suffering an unnecessary preseason injury, especially on a weekend where we saw Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith suffer knee injuries that could sideline them for all of 2017.

So yeah, the Bengals were smart to hold out an injury-prone player like Eifert just for the sake of keeping him healthy. However, Marvin Lewis revealed that there was a small injury after all. Following the Bengals’ 23-17 loss, Lewis announced that Eifert had some tendonitis that helped the Bengals opt to hold him out. The issue is tendinitis in his knee.

According to WebMD, tendinitis is “an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle.

There haven’t been any reported issues with Eifert in training camp or the preseason, so this should be considered minor for now. Then again, it’s hard to consider anything minor with Eifert.

After dislocating his elbow in the first game of the 2014 season (after also injuring his shoulder in offseason workouts leading up to that season), Eifert later had surgery that kept him out for a good portion of the 2015 offseason, but he still returned in time for training camp that year. In 2015 he experienced a concussion and stinger, which cost him three games.

Eifert later suffered an ankle injury in the 2016 Pro Bowl, which led to offseason surgery that caused him to miss the start of the 2016 season. He missed four games due to the ankle injury before missing two more games with a back strain he suffered in practice leading up to Week 5.

In eight games last season, Eifert caught 39 passes for 394 yards and five touchdowns. He now has 18 touchdowns during his last 21 games. Eifert’s absences have been critical in the win-loss column, as the Bengals lost six of the last eight games for which Eifert was missing.

If Eifert is healthy and in the lineup for all 16 games, the Bengals likely will get back to their winning ways in 2017.