The Cincinnati Bengals are just days away from starting their 2023 campaign against the Cleveland Browns. It also seems The Bengals may have done their best to avoid any serious injuries to star players that will linger into the regular season.
Most fans in Cincinnati knew it seemed like an inevitability that quarterback Joe Burrow wasn’t going to miss any regular season time. That has essentially been confirmed with him being a full participant on Wednesday as well as today.
Offensive lineman D’Ante Smith (shoulder) was again listed as a full participant as well. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd was removed from the injury report after being a full participant yesterday.
Pass rusher Joseph Ossai misses yet another practice with the ankle injury he suffered playing in the final preseason game. His absence as the first defensive lineman off the bench could be felt on passing downs. Other than that, there were no players joining Ossai missing practice with an injury.
The Bengals are about as healthy as anyone can hope for their NFL team to be to start the year. Then again, this is the benefit of resting your starters for most of the preseason. It prevents any key guys from getting unnecessarily hurt to any extent. The downside is usually some rust that needs to be dusted off. That will especially apply to Burrow, who returned to practice just recently after missing most of training camp again.
Fortunately, recovering from a calf strain is quite a bit different than an appendectomy. Here is to hoping that leads to a quicker start than last season.
As for the Browns, they actually played most of their starters throughout the preseason. While that may have them less rusty in Week 1, they also have several banged-up starters.
The most notable is cornerback Denzel Ward, who remained limited Thursday as he continues to progress through the NFL concussion protocol.
Another key defensive back in danger of missing Sunday is safety Juan Thornhill, who was signed away from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, Thornhill popped up with a calf injury that limited him Wednesday, and he got a DNP Thursday.
Backup defensive end Alex Wright (knee) and backup wideout Marquise Goodwin (illness) were limited for a second straight day. Everyone else looks good to go for Sunday.