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Sam Hubbard praised for playing through injuries to keep Bengals in playoff race

“He was just a warrior and played through things that most human beings wouldn’t play through and provided us the opportunity to go out there and have a chance to win.”

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Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals were hit hard on the injury front in 2023, including Sam Hubbard.

While it wasn’t a season-ending injury, Hubbard did sustain a serious ankle injury that led to him missing the Bengals’ losses to the Houston Texans (Week 10) and Baltimore Ravens (Week 11). That two-game skid came after the Bengals had reeled off four straight victories — including a 31-17 road win over the Super Bowl-bound 49ers — and were arguably the NFL’s hottest teams.

Hubbard would battle his way back from the injury to play in the Bengals’ final seven games, which saw them go 4-3 without Joe Burrow, all three defeats coming to playoff teams, and they weren’t eliminated from player contention until the end of Week 17. It was later reported that Hubbard would need surgery once the season ended. It’s unclear if the surgery was related to the ankle injury.

During an interview with Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Tobin dished out some strong praise to Hubbard for his resilience in playing through injury to help keep the Bengals in postseason contention.

“I view Sam as one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the league,” said Tobin. “I think late in the season, he was just a warrior and played through things that most human beings wouldn’t play through and provided us the opportunity to go out there and have a chance to win. That’s what Sam Hubbard is all about.

“Sam Hubbard was never close to 100% late in the season, he was working through things for the team. After he’s had the offseason surgery, I think he’ll feel a lot better and more stable and will revert back to the old Sam Hubbard where you can count on him down in and out to be that. He was a real warrior this year.”

In his sixth NFL season, Hubbard had 58 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, six sacks, 17 QB hits, and two fumble recoveries in 15 games, though it was really only 14 since he logged just 11 snaps in the regular-season finale. He played at least 40 snaps in every other game.

Here’s to hoping for a full recovery and a healthier 2024 for the Bengals captain.