It looks like the Cincinnati Bengals have suffered their first big injury of the 2017 season.
According to Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson, the team fears that Trey Hopkins has been lost to a “major injury”. The play in which Hopkins was injured came in Week 1 versus the Baltimore Ravens near the end of the second quarter, when a tipped pass by Andy Dalton was intercepted.
After the play, Hopkins left the field favoring one leg, was examined by trainers, and the team later ruled him out for the rest of the game with a left knee injury. That alone was a bad sign that Hopkins’ injury was significant, and now it looks like he’s out indefinitely.
Hopkins originally joined the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He had a promising training camp, but in his third preseason game, he suffered a leg injury that caused him to miss his entire rookie year. Rehabbing from that injury also kept him out of the first two preseason games in 2015, which helped cost him a roster spot in the process as he spent that year on the practice squad.
In 2016, Hopkins had a good preseason and made the initial 53-man roster but he was inactive his first week and later waived and re-signed to the practice squad. He got the call back to the 53-man roster in Week 17 when Clint Boling went to Injured Reserve.
Since then, Hopkins has been impressing the staff at seemingly every stop, so much that he won the starting right guard job with relative ease coming into the regular season. He looked good early on against the Baltimore Ravens, helping spring open a 12-yard run by Jeremy Hill.
Hopkins also helped Giovani Bernard run for a 23-yard gain in the first half. Those were the two longest runs Cincinnati would have against Baltimore’s stout front seven in what turned into a disastrous 20-0 loss.
Now that Hopkins is out, the Bengals figure to rely on T.J. Johnson as the starting right guard. Johnson did well as the starting left guard last year when Boling went on IR, so the hope is he’ll be at least serviceable on the right side. Johnson was re-signed this offseason after hitting restricted free agency. We also could see more of Alex Redmond or Christian Westerman, both of whom were inactive in Week 1.
We can only hope the injury isn’t as bad as initially feared and Hopkins gets back on the field sooner than later. His rise to being a starter has been one of the best stories of 2017 for the Bengals, so seeing it end like this would be awful.