Injuries are an unfortunate part of the NFL. Every team has to plod their way through them and it's the teams that have the deepest rosters and best attitude about brushing them off that find their way through successful seasons. Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Bengals have found themselves in the middle of the injury fray, with a lot of familiar names falling victim to some nasty ones.
Two of those victims are very important to this football team. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth is the consummate team captain and has become the best offensive lineman that this team has drafted since Willie Anderson back in 1996. He made the Pro Bowl last season and has the respect of the entire Bengals organization for his versatility and leadership.
However, Whitworth will be 32 years old in a few weeks and has had a myriad of injury issues the past couple of seasons. After the Bengals second postseason loss to the Houston Texans in as many years, Whitworth has his knee scoped back in January. He followed that up with another issue to the same knee during Training Camp and has missed two games because of flare-ups there. Whitworth is signed through 2015, making him a free agent for 2016 and is in his eighth season. Will he hold up for the rest of the two-plus seasons on his contract?
Leon Hall, though younger than Whitworth at nearly 29 years old, is coming off a more severe injury. For the second time in three seasons, Hall tore an Achilles tendon which ended his season prematurely. The scary thing is that he has now done it to each leg and is now approaching 30 years old. He too is singed through 2015 and he could be back in time for next season, but how will he fare with two surgically-repaired Achilles tendons?
I think that everyone hopes and prays for the best for these two going forward, but how concerned are you about their futures? Are we starting to see them break down and lose their effectiveness? Or, is it simply a matter of a bad luck streak and they will bounce back and contribute for the remainder of their respective contracts?