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The Debrief: Joe Mixon, Vontaze Burfict return while Giovani Bernard, John Ross are out

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The Cincinnati Bengals won’t have Giovani Bernard or John Ross this weekend. However, Joe Mixon and Vontaze Burfict are returning to the lineup.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

1) Joe Mixon returns as Giovani Bernard sits. Cincinnati’s stable of running backs is rather unstable. Mixon, who missed two games against Carolina and Atlanta, practiced all week and wasn’t given a injury status on Friday — meaning that he’ll play on Sunday when the Bengals host the Dolphins.

Giovani Bernard is out 2-4 weeks. According to NFL reporter Tom Pelissero, Bernard suffered an MCL sprain against Atlanta and could miss the entire month of October. As Mixon returns, Bernard exits.

Let me offer a reaction my old friend Jason Marcum failed to convey during his injury update. “#$@&%*!”.

2) John Ross is also out against the Dolphins. During his touchdown reception against the Falcons, Ross pulled up in obvious pain. Cincinnati’s injury report labeled his injury as a “groin”. He was limited on Monday, but didn’t practice Thursday or Friday. The Bengals have declared him out this weekend.

Everyone else is healthy: Tyler Eifert is headed to Injured Reserve (more on that below), with Billy Price and Ross declared out. Everyone else is able to go. As for the Dolphins, defensive lineman Cameron Wake, the player who sacked Andy Dalton to record a game-winning sack in 2013, is doubtful.

Bengals Injury/Practice Report Week 5

POS BENGALS INJURY WED THUR FRI STATUS
POS BENGALS INJURY WED THUR FRI STATUS
TE Tyler Eifert Ankle DNP DNP DNP IR
C Billy Price Foot DNP DNP DNP OUT
HB Giovani Bernard Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
WR John Ross Groin LP DNP DNP OUT
DE Carl Lawson Ankle -- LP FP --
HB Joe Mixon Knee LP LP FP --
DE Michael Johnson Knee LP LP FP --
LB Preston Brown Shoulder LP FP FP --
OG Alex Redmond Shoulder LP FP FP --

3) The Bengals officially announced Vontaze Burfict’s addition to the 53-man roster. Burfict, coming off a four-game suspension, was placed on the team’s 53-man roster Friday. Cincinnati was given a roster exemption for Burfict, who practiced all week, on Monday.

Tyler Eifert was placed on Injured Reserve. When the team announced Burfict’s promotion, they concurrently announced Eifert’s placement on season-ending Injured Reserve. Eifert suffered broken again against Atlanta and underwent surgery on Monday.

Hey, Vontaze Burfict works out! An interesting comment was made by Burfict on Friday, who met with the press for the first time since his suspension was lifted earlier this week. When asked how he spent the four weeks getting ready, Burfict said he worked out. “Y’all act like I didn’t work out. I don’t know why y’all keep asking me, Was he in condition? It’s my job, so of course I’m going to come in condition.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer believes that Burfict’s response wasn’t directed at reporters — rather “likely to seeing it all over the place on social” but it’s possible Burfict isn’t actually viewing it that way.

According to the team-released transcripts on Marvin Lewis’ press conference from this week, the head coach was asked if he ever had “two linebackers over 250 pounds potentially on the field at the same time?”

This is an innocuous and innocent question. It can also be misconstrued by someone that’s sensitive about his weight, or fielding questions about what shape he’s in. Maybe he views it as being challenged professionally.

The media also asked if Lewis was happy with the shape that Burfict was in.

“When he came up from behind and picked me up off the floor on Monday, I knew it could only be one person. I guess it’s time to wrestle with the bear again (laughs).” The media also asked teammate Preston Brown about Burfict’s “football shape”.

Burfict, like most folks, is sensitive about this topic, evident by his reaction on Friday. There are some with an obsession about the conditioning of Cincinnati’s top linebacker, no doubt. His response, to a fairly innocuous question, suggests the subject has been on the forefront of his mind.

Regardless, the media should be asking questions that make people uncomfortable (sports, business, local, state, and national politics) — they are not a mouthpiece for an organization or a public relations firm. At the same time, deflecting blame as something seen on social media, seemingly hinting that Bengals fans are the ones pushing this narrative, is disingenuous.

Predictions!

A few parting shots from Cincy Jungle: