The theme this week, children, was injuries... serious, uncertain, unknown and plentiful.
It started with Cincinnati's gumby-like superstar receiver. A.J. Green played five snaps against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday, and then pulled himself out of the game during a Giovani Bernard first-quarter run. With a strained ligament in his foot, Green didn't return. Fast forward a few days: Now after sitting on Wednesday and limited on Thursday, Green was "full go" during Friday's practice and listed as probable on the team's status report.
The immediate shift was almost like Cincinnati's public persona about ticket sales this week... going from "NOOOO" to "OK, we're actually kind of cool."
Wasn't that almost similar to last week?
Almost. Green initially hurt his foot during Wednesday's practice last week, and then sat out on Thursday. He was "full go" on Friday and listed as probable. He never made it the seven-minute mark in the first quarter.
Green, who is expected to play this week against Tennessee, wasn't even the most serious of those injuries this week.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is doubtful against the Titans after missing every practice this week. Burfict suffered a concussion in the regular season opener against Baltimore, then took two head shots against the Atlanta Falcons. Either way, everything about Burfict's head-injury employs a confusing decision-making process -- which we've documented throughout the week.
Burfict suffers a concussion against the Ravens. He is pulled from the game. In preparation for the Atlanta Falcons, Burfict sat on Wednesday and Thursday, then was full participation on Friday. Despite being "full participation" on Friday, he wasn't even cleared by doctors until Sunday morning -- NOTE: Full participation on a Friday could just mean a walkthrough.
After hitting Matt Ryan in the first quarter, Burfict modeled himself as a boxer who was clocked in the head. The referee forced him out, as officials are allowed to do when suspecting a concussion, and team doctors examined him. Two quarters later, he was attacking a mobile Ryan when he collided with Emmanuel Lamur. Laying on his stomach, Burfict is gripping his head. Walking to the sidelines, he gripped his head. Sitting on the bench, he still gripped his head.
The team called it a stinger.
Burfict never returned after that.
It's highly unlikely that we'll see Burfict for the rest of this month -- and if things do not improve relatively quickly, more than a few games could be at risk. At this stage, it's about ensuring quality of life for Burfict... not winning a football.
Brandon Thompson (knee) and Kevin Zeitler (calf) are out this weekend and may be out until mid-October... if not later. Both injuries occurred against the Falcons last week.
However, not all of the news was bad.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones appears optimistic for a week five return, doing wind-sprints and conditioning work to expedite his body into football shape. We should start hearing progress reports on linebacker Sean Porter and maybe even running back Rex Burkhead (who will probably just be inactive anyway).
Cincinnati's bye week couldn't come sooner.
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