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Joe Mixon suffers injury in Bengals training camp

The Bengals’ deep backfield may have just taken a big hit.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals are holding their breaths for one of their prized rookies.

On Thursday, running back Joe Mixon suffered a lower-body injury during practice. He was initially able to return to the field, but eventually went to the sideline to allow trainers to examine his left foot.

He ended up sitting on a cart and watching practice with ice on his foot/ankle shortly after the injury took place. The good news is, he likely would have been immediately carted into the stadium if the injury was serious. And some in attendance made the assumption that it was not all that serious.

The talented running back is working to earn his spot as the bell-cow back in an offense primed for big things in 2017. Last season with Oklahoma, Mixon racked up 1,274 rushing yards, 6.8 yards per carry and 10 rushing scores. He also chipped in 538 receiving yards at 14.5 yards per catch and five touchdowns on 37 catches.

That led to the Bengals spending their second-round pick on Mixon with hopes he could become a featured back in this offense. He’s looked good in camp thus far while drawing praise from coaches and teammates, which has only increased the hype that Mixon would take control of this backfield sooner rather than later.

If Mixon is out for an extended amount of time, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard are healthy and looking good in camp thus far. Bernard is seemingly fully recovered from a torn ACL suffered late last season. The Bengals would probably be alright with Hill and Bernard splitting the workload in 2017, but there’s no question Mixon is the future of this backfield and hopes to greatly improve the unit this season.

One other thing a Mixon injury could affect is which running backs make the final roster. If Mixon is set to miss several weeks in the regular season, that could help someone like Tra Carson or Boom Williams make the final roster as an extra running back. Williams has been looking good in camp, and he’ll be getting more touches if Mixon is out for a while.

The Bengals are also without Cedric Peerman, who remains on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list due to an undisclosed injury. That would leave Hill, Bernard, Carson, Williams and Jarveon Williams as the only healthy running backs heading into the preseason.

We’ll keep you posted as more details on Mixon’s injury become available. Hopefully, the Bengals are just playing it safe and Mixon is back in action sooner than later!

And, here’s a friendly reminder on training camp injuries and the dreaded cart...

UPDATE (5:00 p.m. ET):

Mixon was walking on the sidelines a few minutes after the injury.

Though, he was seen limping.

This may hurt his ability to get some much-needed preseason playing time, but, it does not sound like a serious injury, which is a relief.

UPDATE (5:15 p.m. ET):

This seems to be a very minor injury. Fear not, Bengals fans!

UPDATE (5:25 p.m. ET):

Mixon just has a bruised heel, according to Geoff Hobson, which should not be a serious injury or something that causes him to miss much time.