The short turnaround from the Bengals victory on Sunday also likely had an impact on the number of injuries, but that is always the risk with these Thursday night games.
The Bengals got some bad news before the game. Linebacker Preston Brown wasn’t able to go for his first game in Paul Brown Stadium. He grew up rooting for the Bengals, so it was an especially emotional moment.
Brown suffered an ankle injury during the Colts game in Week 1, and even though he returned in that game, he wasn’t able to recover from it on a short week. Brown was replaced by Hardy Nickerson Jr. in the starting lineup as Vontaze Burfict served the second game of his suspension.
Because Brown was limited in practice this week, we should be cautiously optimistic he’ll return to action in Week 3 with a few extra days of rest in between.
Rookie center Billy Price suffered an ankle injury during the first half. He walked off the field under his own power and was ruled questionable to return initially. Eventually, he was downgraded to out in the second half. He was seen with a walking boot and out of his pads on the sideline in the third quarter. Trey Hopkins took over at center for the rookie. He was the starting right guard last season.
The Bengals also lost veteran defensive lineman Michael Johnson early in the game. He suffered a knee injury and was instantly declared out. It was strange as play didn’t stop, so Johnson was able to return to the sideline with his injury. Rookie Sam Hubbard took advantage of the extra snaps with 1.5 sacks.
According to Ian Rapoport, it looks like a sprain that will keep Johnson out several weeks:
#Bengals veteran DE Michael Johnson, who was ruled out last night with a knee injury, is expected to miss a few weeks with the injury, source said. That impressive front 4 takes a hit.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 14, 2018
Joe Mixon also dealt with a knee injury during Thursday night’s game. He left the game twice and missed a handful of drives. He did return in the fourth quarter, and he helped set up the Bengals’ field goal that made it an eight-point lead. He was also involved in the Bengals’ attempt to run the clock on the Bengals final drive of the game.
That may have proven costly, as Mixon is now set to have minor surgery on that knee and miss about two weeks of action.
Dre Kirkpatrick left the game with a little over two minutes left in the game. At that point, the Bengals were up 34-23. It appeared to not be too serious as he jogged the last little bit of the way into the tunnel.
The team just seemed to be cautious given the lead they had. Safety Shawn Williams suffered a similar fate soon after Kirkpatrick. Both seemed to be suffering from cramps.
Luckily, the Bengals will have over a week to recover from their injuries before taking on the Panthers in Week 3.