The biggest sight for sore eyes was Vontaze Burfict practicing for the first time this season. Burfict just wrapped up his three-game suspension, and today was his first practice in nearly a full month.
Another notable development on the day was Trey Hopkins making his long-awaited return. Hopkins is dealing with a knee injury that was thought to be significant, perhaps season-ending, which he sustained in Week 1.
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 is not over, though it’s untelling if he’ll play in Week 4. If anything, the Bengals may slowly work him back, let him sit out the next two games, then get fully recovered through the Week 6 bye.
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.
Unfortunately, tight end Tyler Eifert was once again not present for practice as he continues to recover from a back injury. We already know he’s out multiple weeks, but not seeing Eifert even attend practice in street clothes is concerning. Don’t expect him to play before the bye week.
Another key offensive player sidelined Wednesday was John Ross. The rookie wide receiver did not practice, but he did get some work in on the stationary back.
John Ross on the bike. Won’t be practicing today. Still nursing knee injury.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) September 27, 2017
Being that Ross is dealing with a knee injury, seeing him work on the bike suggests his recovery is going well. I doubt he plays this week, but at least he’s inching closer towards a return.
Other injured players not practicing included Jordan Evans, Shawn Williams and Derron Smith, who got some work on the rehab field.
Derron Smith, Jordan Evans, Shawn Williams on rehab field. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) September 27, 2017
Williams was forced from Sunday’s loss in Green Bay due to what was thought to be cramps, but it looks like it may have been more serious. He eventually returned, so seeing him on the rehab field suggests it’s not too bad.
Be sure to check back later for a full practice and participation report for the Bengals and Browns.