More woes as Bengals put WR Ross on injured reserve list
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals put receiver John Ross III on injured reserve Wednesday, the latest blow to a winless team that’s already missing star receiver A.J. Green.
Ross landed hard on his right shoulder during a 27-3 loss in Pittsburgh on Monday night that left Cincinnati 0-4 for the first time since 2008. The former first-round pick is eligible to return after eight games if the shoulder heals.
The third-year receiver was finally having a breakout season. After missing most of training camp with a hamstring injury, Ross led the Bengals with 328 yards receiving and three touchdown catches. He was Cincinnati’s only deep threat with Green recovering from an ankle injury suffered during training camp.
“You hate it for him and you hate it for this team,“ quarterback Andy Dalton said. “He was a guy who was progressing and one of our key players.”
Ross was coming off two disappointing seasons. The ninth overall pick in 2017 was limited to three games as a rookie because of shoulder surgery. He finished with no catches and a fumble on his only carry. A groin injury last season limited him to 13 games with 21 catches for 210 yards and seven touchdowns, a hint at what he could become if he stayed healthy.
Ross and Tyler Boyd were carrying the passing game with Green hurt. Now, there’s little experience beyond Boyd. The Bengals elevated undrafted rookie receiver Stanley Morgan off the practice squad to fill the roster spot.
Second-year player Auden Tate, fourth-year veteran Alex Erickson and undrafted rookie Damion Willis fill out the receivers group.
Coach Zac Taylor said there’s a chance Ross could return late in the season.
“It’s tough news for him,“ Taylor said. “He really worked hard to come back from the injury in training camp, and he was playing well. It’s tough to see a guy go through this when he’s fought through this before.”
Green hurt his left ankle during the first practice of training camp in Dayton, Ohio. The Bengals are carrying him on the active roster, hoping he can return in October. Taylor ruled him out for a game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1) at Paul Brown Stadium and had no timeline for a return.
With their receiving group sapped by injuries, the Bengals are likely to turn more toward running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard and their tight ends when they face the Cardinals in a matchup of first-year head coaches still trying to get that first win. Kliff Kingsbury’s team tied the Lions 27-27 before losing to the Ravens, Panthers and Seahawks.
Dalton was sacked eight times in the loss at Pittsburgh as the offensive line got overwhelmed. Taylor said left tackle Cordy Glenn would miss a fifth straight game Sunday as he recovers from a concussion.
Other than Glenn and Green, everyone else had a full practice Wednesday.