The Bengals could be getting one key player back but losing another.
On Wednesday, linebacker Vontaze Burfict made his long-awaited return to the practice field, a good sign he’ll be ready to rock in Cleveland this week.
However, wide receiver John Ross was not able to practice in Wednesday’s session. That’s bad news with fellow receiver Tyler Boyd expected to miss this week with an MCL sprain.
John Ross did not have his helmet with him during practice today, and Tyler Boyd was not present. If they can't play, the Bengals are down to Alex Erickson, Cody Core, Auden Tate and Josh Malone— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) December 19, 2018
John Ross not participating in team drills for #Bengals— Richard Skinner (@Local12Skinny) December 19, 2018
Tez returns to practice, but probably plays WIll with Nickerson in middle— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) December 19, 2018
Ross wasn’t listed on the injury report last week, though he did suffer a groin injury early in the season that was nagging him for several weeks. He ultimately missed three games and has caught just 19 passes for 206 yards this season, but he has managed to make six scoring grabs.
Again, with Boyd expected to miss this week’s matchup with the Browns, having Ross healthy and active is crucial for the Bengals to have any hope of winning this game.
As for Burfict, the Bengals badly need him back in a linebacker unit that’s easily the weakest position on the roster when he’s out of the lineup. Having a healthy Burfict and Nick Vigil is something Cincinnati has rarely had together this season, as they’ve arguably been the two best linebackers on this roster in 2018.
Check back later for the full practice and participation report.