Bengals’ Joe Burrow still recovering, no return timeline

Cincinnati (AP) – Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, still recovering from an appendectomy two weeks ago, has no schedule for training camp.

The third-year quarterback, who led Cincinnati to its first Super Bowl in 33 years last season, has been watching practice from a golf cart or scooter. During a recent practice, he drew roars from fans when he picked up a football and tossed it around.

“Every day has been a very encouraging day for him,” coach Zach Taylor said Wednesday. “I don’t make predictions.”

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

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

Taylor said he doesn’t think Burrow will fall behind in preparing for the season. Like most of the Tigers’ starters, Burrow won’t be playing in Friday night’s preseason opener anyway.

“You know, obviously, the physical reps, and we’re going to try and get those reps from him,” Taylor said when he came back. “We really went through all the situations we wanted to go through. When he does get back into the mix, practice will be focused on getting our quarterback ready.”

Backup quarterback Brandon Allen is expected to play in the first half of Friday’s game against the Cardinals, while Jack Browning will play in the second half. The Tigers host AFC North rivals Pittsburgh in their season opener on September 11.

Taylor isn’t too worried about the preseason. Burrow missed most of the preseason last summer as he returned from knee surgery.

“You can give (Burrow) a lot of credit. He’s a smart guy and he’s done these things before,” Taylor said. “But again, we want to make sure we don’t skip steps in areas where we want to be able to work before heading to Pittsburgh. So there will be a lot of consideration, when he does come back into the mix, how do we schedule practice times to make sure he Get the massive amount of work he needs.”

The Bengals did get some good news on Wednesday, when right tackle Rael Collins was allowed to practice. He has been on the non-football injured list due to back issues.

Collins, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract in May, is seen as an integral part of the Bengals’ desire to improve their offensive line. The team also entered free agency after Burrow fired more times than any other quarterback in 2021, signing right guard Alex Capa and center Ted Callas.

“I think it’s a big step in the right direction for us,” Taylor said of Collins’ return. “He’s going to be restrained, you know. We’re not going to throw him in the team mix, just to get him back in the drills, get him back (with O-line coach Frank Pollack). This is The start process this week, and then we’ll continue to grow from there. But it’s nice to have him back on board.”

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

“I feel good,” he said. “Every training camp is important. Now is the time for you to get to work and perfect your craft. You have to lock in every day and keep the same focus every day.”

In other injury news, Taylor said receiver Tee Higgins could return to practice next week. Higgins underwent labral surgery in March — he was injured in Week 2 of last season — which kept him out of offseason practice.

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