The Cincinnati Bengals received good news on the injury front regarding C.J. Uzomah.
The third-year tight end went down with a scary lower-leg injury during Monday’s practice. It was bad enough that Uzomah couldn’t put any weight on the leg in question and had to be helped to the sideline before leaving on a cart.
But as bad as the injury looked, head coach Marvin Lewis says it’s just a sprained ankle.
Marvin Lewis says CJ Uzomah has a sprained ankle.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) August 8, 2017
Now, while a sprain is great news and not something that’s season-ending, it still could sideline Uzomah for multiple weeks, depending on the severity. A low-ankle sprain can take a few weeks to come back from, making Uzomah likely for a return by Week 1 of the regular season.
However, a high-ankle sprain can sideline players for 4-6 weeks, if not longer. It’s a hard injury to come back from, even though it doesn’t require surgery. That would put Uzomah in jeopardy of missing Week 1, though it wouldn’t be a sure thing since we’re still 33 days away from the Bengals’ regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, who’ve been ravaged by their own training camp injuries, especially at tight end.
The Bengals by no means will win or lose that game because of Uzomah’s availability, especially if Tyler Eifert is healthy, which he currently is. Uzomah is a nice backup, but he wasn’t even assured of beating Tyler Kroft for the No. 2 tight end spot.
All said, this is relatively good news for Uzomah and the Bengals. Uzomah avoids a serious injury and should return early in the regular season at the latest, while the Bengals probably don’t need to do much, if any tinkering with their roster as it stands.
Eifert, Kroft, seventh-round rookie Mason Schreck and h-back Ryan Hewitt should be enough to get through the preseason. This also means more snaps for Schreck going forward as he looks to earn his spot on the practice squad while being a darkhorse for the 53-man roster.
Even if Uzomah misses one or two regular-season games, the Bengals almost certainly won’t keep an extra tight end to account for it. They didn’t last year when Eifert and Kroft were healthy while Uzomah was dealing with a calf injury, which helped lead to him being inactive for five games.