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Michael Johnson out a few weeks with MCL sprain; Billy Price has a foot strain

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The Bengals lost two key starters on Thursday. One of them is likely going to miss a few games.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals will be without Michael Johnson for several weeks.

According to Ian Rapoport, Johnson is dealing with a knee sprain that should keep him sidelined for a few weeks.

Bengals.com adds it looks like an MCL sprain, which is expected to cost him “at least a couple of games.”

Johnson was forced from the Bengals vs. Ravens matchup on Thursday with a left knee injury. The team quickly announced he was out for the rest of the game, a bad sign it was a significant injury. It occurred in the first quarter with about six minutes remaining.

The Bengals had Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Jordan Willis and Sam Hubbard active in the game at defensive end, so they were able to hold on the for the win and kept terrorizing Joe Flacco all night. Hubbard actually played very well with extended playing time, so Johnson’s absence shouldn’t have a big impact. The rookie had his first sack of his NFL career on Thursday night.

The news is a little better with Billy Price, who was knocked out of the game in the first half with what Marvin Lewis is calling a “foot strain”. After the game, Hubbard, a college teammate of Price’s, had a positive injury update on his fellow Buckeye.

“Yeah, we’ve got a lot of banged-up guys, and these 10 days (will help). I was talking to Billy (Price), and 10 days is all he needs,” said Hubbard. We’re just excited to get these guys back that are a little banged up.”

On Friday morning, Lewis said it was a foot strain for Price and the head coach actuallysaid he would have been “surprised he couldn’t come back in an emergency on Thursday after he was pumping up the crowd when he was walking off,” per Katherine Terrell.

The injury happened on a run late in the first quarter in which Price appeared to have his foot stepped on. He was down after the play before trainers came out on the field to examine him. He eventually got up and walked gingerly to the sideline for further testing.

With him out, Trey Hopkins took over at center and played quite well.

Hopkins had been in a battle for the right guard spot he ultimately lost to Alex Redmond, but part of that was because the Bengals wanted Hopkins ready to come off the bench to play right guard or center. There is no one else on the roster who’s gotten significant snaps at center in the NFL.

In his Friday press conference, Lewis confirmed neither Johnson nor Price’s injuries are season-ending. It sounds like Price should be healed up fully soon, maybe even for Week 3 against the Panthers.

“We’re not sure right now. It’s just a matter of how long it takes for them to heal,” Lewis said of the injuries. “We’ve got a little longer time this week until our next game, so both guys will get an opportunity (to recover) and we’ll see how they come back.”