Joe Burrow went down with a calf strain very early at training camp in what was a scary moment for the Cincinnati Bengals. Their star quarterback, who got carted off after suffering a non-contact injury, grabbed at his lower leg before being removed from the session. The following day, head coach Zac Taylor revealed Burrow would be sidelined several weeks dealing with the calf injury.
Fast forward two weeks and Taylor, when asked about an update on Burrow's injury and return timeline, told the media "the timeline is several weeks from when I said several weeks."
While this was not much of an update, it was a positive sign that Burrow remains on schedule to suit up for Week 1. It's clear he's been working in recovery, too. Per the Enquirer, Burrow was throwing 50-yard deep balls and running sideline to sideline ahead of Cincy's first preseason matchup against the Green Bay Packers on Friday night.
"I think things are good and he's progressing as he should," Taylor said following Friday night's 36-19 loss, via ESPN.
Before the team confirmed that Burrow had suffered a strain, wide receiver and good friend Ja'Marr Chase told reporters why he thinks Burrow will be OK. "We always give each other that nod," Chase said after practice, via Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. "He gave me a nod [to say] he's all right. He's a strong dude."
Chase added that he felt better after receiving the nod from his quarterback.
"I wasn't really worried," Chase said. "I believe he's all right."
Taylor confirmed after practice Burrow was wearing a sleeve on his injured leg, which is something the quarterback doesn't normally wear. Taylor won't panic on the situation regarding his franchise quarterback.
Burrow is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and the key toward the franchise capturing its first Super Bowl title. He has taken the Bengals to consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances, after finishing a season tied for second in the NFL in passing touchdowns (35), while ranking fifth in completions (414), fifth in passing yards (4,475) and sixth in passer rating (100.8). Over the last two seasons, Burrow leads the NFL in passer rating (104.8) and his third in the NFL in touchdown passes (69).
If Burrow were to miss the season, SportsLine Data Scientist Stephen Oh crunched the percentages for the Bengals with him out.
If Burrow missed the season
The AFC North would look significantly different as well.
Joe Burrow healthy
Joe Burrow out
The Bengals are Super Bowl contenders with Burrow. Without him, Cincinnati is in serious trouble of repeating as division champions. Fortunately, he should be back on the field soon after he recovers from the calf strain.