Andrew Hawkins could miss early season on Bengalsí IR-recall list
Hawkins originally sprained his left ankle while trying to make a catch during a practice last week and needed to be carted off the field. Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis provided an update on Hawkins’ status this weekend, revealing that the player’s injured ankle has been placed in a cast for 10 days, around which time the team would have made a decision on how long he will be sidelined while nursing the injury.
"It allows the opportunity to make sure we don't inadvertently injure it more. It gives it a chance to settle down and begin to mend,” Lewis said. “He's very optimistic that he'll be ready to go at some point here, so we'll see.”
"At least for the next 10 days or so he's going to be in this cast,” Lewis added. “Then we'll have a little better update after that."
If however, Hawkins is not ready to go for the Bengals’ season opener at Chicago on Sep. 8, then he will be placed on the team’s injured reserve with the opportunity to return at some point later in the season. Teams can only place one player on the injured reserve with the designation to return. Otherwise, that player is out for the entire season. The Bengals will have to make that decision of assigning him to the injured reserve-recall list after the final roster cuts on Aug. 31.
"Right now he has a chance to be a candidate for that at this point," Lewis said of Hawkins.
After possibly being placed on the injured reserve, Hawkins won’t be eligible to return to the active roster for at least eight weeks, which stands mid-way through the season.
Hawkins was the Bengals’ second-leading receiver last season, with 51 catches for 533 yards and four touchdowns while playing 14 games with two starts for the team.
If Hawkins is forced to sit out the first two months of the season, it increases the roster offs of veteran Brandon Tate and third-year pros Dane Sanzenbacher as well as Ryan Whalen, behind the Bengals’ top receivers trio – one the league’s best receiver A.J. Green, as well as 2012 draft picks Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones.
Even though All-Pro receiver Green has been sidelined with a bruised left knee since the start of training camp, Lewis said he’s improving quickly and could possibly return to practice by next week. The Bengals play the Tennessee Titans in their second preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium next Saturday.
Additionally, while Hawkins’ fresh leg would be a welcome addition for the stretch run, the Bengals will never run out of offensive weapons for quarterback Andy Dalton in his absence. Pro Bowl tight end Jermaine Gresham is also in the mix as a receiving option on the offense, while rookies Tyler Eifert (TE) and Giovani Bernard (RB) are also expected to play a significant role in the passing game.