Week 1 is finally here, and the Cincinnati Bengals are about as healthy as an NFL team can be.
For Monday’s practice, it was a small group of players unable to get a full session in as the team prepares for the Baltimore Ravens. That included starting safety Shawn Williams, who was able to get some work on the rehab field for the first time since injuring his elbow.
Shawn Williams headed to rehab field for first time. Uzomah also over there. Only other one not practicing is John Ross. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) September 4, 2017
This bodes well for Williams returning to action soon, though it’s still anyone’s guess when he’ll make his regular-season debut. His elbow injury looked bad enough to sideline him for the entire season but at least 4-6 weeks.
Now, it appears playing in Week 1 isn’t out of the question. It’s still hard to see Williams playing in either of the first two games, being that the second one is on a short week for a Thursday night clash with the Houston Texans. There have been reports he’s aiming to return by Week 3.
Elsewhere, wide receiver John Ross was dressed for practice, but it looks like he didn’t do any major work as he was without a helmet.
John Ross out here, but doesn't look like he has a helmet. #Bengals pic.twitter.com/u29LhcIS8C— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) September 4, 2017
Ross is recovering from a knee injury suffered in the fourth preseason game, which reportedly will sideline him for a couple of weeks. We shouldn’t expect to see him Sunday versus Baltimore or next Thursday against Houston. That long break before Week 3 could be enough time to get him ready to make his debut in Green Bay. Of course, it’s possible he plays sooner, but it’s unlikely the Bengals would rush him back.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah continues to work on the rehab field as he recovers from an ankle sprain. He too is believed to be out for a few more weeks. That’s probably why the Bengals kept Cethan Carter on the 53-man roster. The undrafted free agent had a nice preseason, but not enough to keep him as a fourth tight end unless the team knows one of the top three guys is out for multiple weeks.
Speaking of tight ends, Tyler Eifert was able to practice after missing the final two preseason games. Nearly all of the starters sat out from the final preseason game, and the Bengals said Eifert could have played, but, they have been cautious with him.
Eifert, who didn't play last 2 preseason games, dressed for practice with helmet. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) September 4, 2017
Eifert is dealing with knee tendinitis, though it’s believed to be minor. He’s primed for a big season in the midst of a contract year, so long as he can stay healthy.
Because this was a Monday practice, there will not be an official injury and participation report later today from the team. That will likely star on Wednesday of this week.