The biggest player absent was Tyler Eifert, who is sidelined with knee and back issues. Missing the first day of practice is by no means a killer for one’s chances of playing in the upcoming game, but it’s still deflating to see Eifert hurt yet again.
Looks like Eifert, Hopkins only ones not practicing. Hopkins on rehab field for first time. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) September 20, 2017
If Eifert is out this week, we’ll see Tyler Kroft starting in his place, while Ryan Hewitt, C.J. Uzomah and Cethan Carter split reps at the second tight end spot. Uzomah missed the first two games with an ankle injury, but he practiced last week and should be healthy enough to play at Green Bay.
Another notable development on the day was Trey Hopkins working on the rehab field. Hopkins is dealing with a knee injury that was thought to be significant, perhaps season-ending.
The play where Hopkins was injured came in Week 1 near the end of the second quarter on a tipped pass in which Andy Dalton was intercepted. Hopkins left the field favoring his right knee, was examined by trainers, and the team later ruled his return as doubtful before eventually ruling him out in the second half.
Hopkins was one of the best stories of the Bengals’ offseason. He rose up from being mostly a practice squad body in recent years to easily being one of the 3-5 best linemen on this team in 2017. It’s great to see his season doesn’t appear to be over, though it’s untelling when he’ll return.
With Hopkins out, T.J. Johnson has been starting at right guard. I’d expect Johnson to start again in Week 3, though it’s clear he’s a downgrade from a healthy Hopkins.
That was all the news to report from Wednesday’s practice. Be sure to check back later for a full participation and injury report for the Bengals and Packers.