Bengals RB Giovani Bernard expects to play vs. Ravens

11/10/13 in NFL   |   IvanRogers   |   1352 respect

FanIQ | Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News & Discussion ForumsCincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard has been practicing on limited basis all week due to a rib injury. But the rookie is still “planning to play” against their AFC North rival the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
 
Bernard suffered the rib injury in the Bengals’ 22-20 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins last week. Before being forced out of the fourth quarter, Bernard was enjoying the best game of his career, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns on just nine touchdowns against the Dolphins.
 
He returned to practice on Wednesday but remained on the Bengals’ injury report throughout the week. While the Bengals never expected Bernard’s rib injury to be serious, he was previously listed as questionable in Friday’s injury report.
 
The 21-year-old Bernard has blossomed into a dynamic offensive threat for the Bengals and expects to play a key role in their success moving forward. Although Bernard has been limited to just 21 carries over the past three weeks, he is still second on the team with 361 yards rushing and leads the Bengals with four rushing touchdowns. Combined with his 30 receptions, Bernard has generated 628 yards from scrimmage and total six touchdowns, just one behind wide receiver Marvin Jones who leads the team with seven touchdowns.
 
If the Bengals (6-3) win Sunday’s pivotal AFC North match up, the team will extend its lead over the rest of their struggling divisional foes. But a loss could put the Bengals at risk of slipping out of their top spot in the division. The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to improve in the second half of the season and add some wins to their 2-6 start. The Cleveland Browns could pose a more serious threat to the Bengals, since the Browns are only a couple of games behind. So, loss by the Bengals could open the door for their divisional rivals to potentially make a jump to the top spot in the final stretch of the season.
 
However, if Bernard is unable to go then he will be likely replaced by third-string running back Cedric Peerman in Sunday’s game against the Ravens. The Bengals could also activate sixth-round pick Rex Burkhead for the first time this year to add depth at the running back spot this Sunday.
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