The injury bug has hit the Cincinnati Bengals, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
After falling to the Houston Texans without the services of Tee Higgins and Sam Hubbard, we saw Trey Hendrickson go down with a knee injury on his last snap of the game.
We now know that Hendrickson suffered only a hyperextended knee, which is good news, but it almost certainly keeps him out for Thursday’s big showdown with the Baltimore Ravens. Being down your top pass rusher against Lamar Jackson is never good news.
Beyond that, Head Coach Zac Taylor didn’t seem to instill much confidence in the fan base that Hubbard or Higgins would be back this week to help soften the blow.
The good news is it appears Ja’Marr Chase made it through Sunday’s game with no setbacks regarding his back injury, so he should be fine for this week.
Zac Taylor says in regard to Tee Higgins (hamstring) and Sam Hubbard (ankle) playing Thursday it’s “tough, short week” but wasn’t making any declarations.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) November 13, 2023
Called Trey Hendrickson “day to day” also not making any declarations other than it was a tough, short week for injuries.
Zac Taylor said Ja'Marr Chase's back is moving in a positive direction.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) November 13, 2023
There’s also this from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reports that it’s unlikely Higgins will play this week.
On a short week with a Thursday night game vs. the Ravens in Baltimore, it’s considered unlikely that Bengals’ WR Tee Higgins will be able to return from his hamstring injury, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 13, 2023
While Taylor didn’t make any declarations, calling it a “tough, short week” makes it sound like the chances of either Hubbard or Higgins suiting up Thursday aren’t great.
For an offense that looked lost for most of the game Sunday and a defense that was gashed in the run game while getting almost no pressure on C.J. Stroud, this could spell trouble for the Bengals as they desperately need to pick up not only conference but division wins.
Such is the reality with Thursday Night Football. Players have less time to recover from the previous game, and banged-up players lose three days to get their bodies back in to playing condition.
In the NFL, there is a “next man up” mentality, and the Bengals certainly look to be looking at the likes of Myles Murphy, Joseph Ossai, Cam Sample, Tyler Boyd, and Trenton Irwin to step in and make plays.
We will continue to monitor the statuses of all injured Bengals ahead of Thursday night’s AFC North clash.