Bengals’ Joe Burrow still recovering, no return schedule


CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is still on the mend following an appendectomy two weeks ago, and there is no timeline for his attendance at training camp.

The third-year quarterback, who last season led Cincinnati to its first Super Bowl in 33 years, watched the practice from a golf cart or scooter. During a recent practice, he received warm applause from the fans when he picked up a soccer ball and threw it.

“Every day has been a very encouraging day for him,” coach Zac Taylor said Wednesday. “I’m not going to make a prediction.”

The quarterback’s father, Jimmy Burrow, told radio analyst Dave Lapham on the “In the Trenches” podcast on Friday that it could be “a few weeks” before his son can practice.

“It set him back,” Jimmy Burrow said of the operation. “But he seems to be improving every day, and hopefully in a few weeks we’ll be back on the pitch.”

Taylor said he didn’t expect Burrow to lag behind in his preparation for the season. Like most Bengals starters, Burrow wouldn’t have played in Friday night’s preseason opener anyway.

“You know, obviously the physical reps, we’re going to try to get those reps out of him” when he comes back, Taylor said. “We really went through all the situations we wanted to go through. When he comes back into the mix, practices will be focused on preparing our quarterback.

Backup quarterback Brandon Allen is expected to play the first half of Friday’s game against the Cardinals and Jake Browning the second half. The Bengals will host rival AFC North Pittsburgh in the season opener on September 11.

Taylor isn’t too worried about the pre-season. Burrow was mostly sidelined from pre-season games last summer as he recovered from knee surgery.

“You can give (Burrow) a lot of credit. He’s a smart guy, he’s done things before,” Taylor said. “But again, we want to make sure that before Pittsburgh we haven’t skipped any steps in terms of the areas of the field that we want to be able to work on. So there will be a lot of consideration, when he comes back into the mix, how we structure training periods to make sure he gets plenty of work he needs.

The Bengals received some good news on Wednesday when right tackle La’el Collins was cleared for practice. He was on the non-football injury list with a back problem.

Collins, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract in May, is seen as an integral part of what the Bengals hope will be an improved offensive line. The team also dove into free agency to sign right guard Alex Cappa and center Ted Karras after Burrow was fired more than any other quarterback in 2021.

“I think it’s a big, big step in the right direction for us,” Taylor said of Collins’ return. “It will be limited, you know. We’re not going to throw him out there in team mixes, but just to put him back in the crossings, get him back (along with O line coach Frank Pollack). This is the starting process for this week, and then we will continue to grow from there. But good to put it back in the mix.

Collins, 29, played his first seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

“I feel good,” he said. “Every training camp is important. It’s the time when you have to come in and work and perfect your craft. You have to lock yourself in every day and come with the same goal every day.

In other injury news, Taylor said receiver Tee Higgins could return to practice next week. Higgins underwent labral surgery in March – he suffered the injury in Week 2 last season – which ruled him out of off-season training.

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