Joe Burrow's Injury Throws Bengals' Season Start into Chaos! Can They Overcome the Odds?
Joe Burrow's calf injury has cast doubts over the Bengals' ability to kick off the 2023 season on a strong note.
Typically, the recovery timeline suggests that Burrow could be back in time for the Bengals' Week 1 matchup against Cleveland. However, considering the lengthy NFL season ahead, Ja'Marr Chase, Burrow's key partner in the receiving game, emphasizes the importance of Burrow prioritizing his health over a rushed return to face a divisional opponent.
Chase conveyed his thoughts during a discussion on Inside Training Camp, stating, "I was completely honest with him. I'd rather he not rush and take the time he needs. I followed the same principle last year. I held back from playing an extra game to ensure my hip was fully healed. We want to avoid causing any potential issues later in the season. As long as he's back after Week 5, we're in good shape."
While Cincinnati's initial schedule isn't overly demanding, it does encompass crucial encounters with AFC North rivals in the first two games. The Bengals commence their 2023 campaign in Cleveland, a place where they haven't clinched victory since Burrow's arrival in 2020. Subsequently, they return home for a Week 2 face-off against the Ravens, a team they narrowly overcame during the Super Wild Card Weekend in the previous season.
Though commencing the season with a 0-2 record is less than ideal, it becomes an even greater challenge if Burrow remains sidelined. Chase acknowledges that the overall season outcome carries more significance than early games. Nevertheless, if he had the choice, he'd undoubtedly expedite Burrow's return. This sentiment is bolstered by the fact that the Bengals overcame an 0-2 start last year to reach the AFC Championship Game.
Chase humorously laments his inability to possess healing powers for Burrow, stating, "I wish I had that magic touch. I observe him daily, closely monitoring his rehabilitation progress. Even from the outset, I could discern his attitude and feelings, which provided insight into his condition. He's in capable hands, putting in diligent work and ensuring he rests well."
The opening month for Cincinnati culminates with a home match against the Los Angeles Rams, followed by a trip to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans. Although these two opponents may not be considered top contenders for the NFL's elite status in 2023, these games offer the Bengals an opportunity to gain momentum as they transition into October.
It's clear that the Bengals recognize their most promising avenue, and perhaps their sole path, to a Super Bowl return hinges on having Burrow lead the charge. While alternative quarterbacks like Trevor Siemian, Jake Browning, and Reid Sinnett are available, the team undeniably lacks the same level of potency without Burrow at the helm.
In the process of recovery, rehabilitation holds equal importance alongside rest. Chase approves of Burrow's rehabilitation progress and his commitment to the process. However, Chase advocates for patience over haste. He hopes Burrow internalizes this advice as he diligently works towards rejoining the team on the field.
Chase revealed Burrow's approach, sharing, "He assured me that he'll assess his condition when the time arrives. He doesn't have a definite return date, but he's optimistic about making a comeback in the near future."