Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Ross (shoulder) is "all fixed now", Geoff Hobson of the team's official website reports. "[Ross] wasn't in my doghouse. I don't have a doghouse," Lewis said. "I think he's all the ability we wanted. That's why we drafted him. He had to get fixed. We knew he was injured going in and he got nicked up a couple of times in his lower legs and the other shoulder was bothering him. He's all fixed now."
Ross had surgery on the labrum in his right shoulder last March, subsequently missing all of Bengals' offseason program and a considerable portion of training camp. He then sprained his left knee during the preseason, and he was in and out of the lineup throughout the year until a torn labrum in his left shoulder required surgery in December. On top of all that, Ross entered the NFL with a medical history that included an ACL tear, two meniscus tears and microfracture surgery. The No. 9 overall pick from last year's draft is expected to be available for the offseason program, though the Bengals probably won't be counting on much until he proves he can stay healthy for more than a few weeks at a time. The team ideally would like to see Ross supplant Brandon LaFell as the No. 2 receiver alongside A.J. Green.
Ross continues to rehab from December surgery to address the damaged labrum of his left shoulder, an injury that spelled an end to a highly disappointing rookie campaign. After entering the NFL with much hype after running a combine-record 4.22-second 40-yard dash and getting selected with the ninth overall pick last April, Ross struggled to stay healthy and earn offensive snaps, finishing the season with no receptions on two targets in only three games. Ross's unparalleled speed still makes him a high-upside commodity even after a dismal first year in the NFL, but he'll need to stay on the field and display a better grasp of the playbook during offseason workouts and training camp if he's to gain a meaningful role in the Bengals' passing attack in 2018.
Ross previously underwent surgery on his right shoulder shortly after running a 4.22 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine, but the procedure didn't impact his draft stock with the Bengals nabbing him with the No. 9 overall pick in April. He resumed practicing in the second week of training camp, but then suffered a knee injury in the Bengals' preseason finale and subsequently missed five of the first six weeks of the regular season. Ross ultimately played just 17 snaps on offense in three appearances this season, with head coach Marvin Lewis keeping him out of the lineup for four of the team's last five contests. Lewis indicated Ross would reenter the game plan Sunday against Chicago, but the Bengals instead placed the speedy rookie on injured reserve after Wednesday's workout. It sounds like the upcoming procedure is considered minor, which bodes well for Ross' chances to make a full recovery before OTAs begin next spring. His medical history remains a massive concern, as he entered the league with an ACL tear, two meniscus tears and microfacture surgery on his record before undergoing his first shoulder surgery.
Previous reports indicated that the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft would likely play this weekend, but the team has decided to shut Ross down, with an eye toward having the speedster in top shape/health for the 2018 campaign. With his blazing speed, it's believed that Ross will emerge as a dangerous weapon in the Bengals' wideout corps opposite top option A.J. Green, but down the stretch this year, Brandon LaFell figures to retain the team's No. 2 wideout job, with the likes of Tyler Boyd, Josh Malone and Alex Erickson also in the mix at the position.
Ross (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday.
That said, coach Marvin Lewis indicated that the rookie wideout is slated to play Sunday against the Bears after being made a healthy scratch three straight games. The No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft brings blazing speed to the table, which gives him the potential to emerge as a dangerous weapon in the Bengals' wideout corps down the road, but Ross' opportunity to make a fantasy mark this season is now limited. If he does play this weekend, a wait-and see approach is in order, though if Ross shows something in the process, the 23-year-old could earn a longer look in the team's last three regular-season contests.
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