The Cincinnati Bengals will be without two of their best players when they host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night this week. According to their official depth chart, Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert and starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick are both doubtful for the game.
Fans were hopeful that Eifert would make his 2016 season debut this week, but that doesn’t look likely at this point.
Eifert has been out for months after suffering an ankle injury during last year’s Pro Bowl. He dealt with several setbacks that forced him to get surgery on the ankle, which forced him to miss the entire offseason and the first three weeks of the season.
He returned to practice last week and has been working his way back, so there was some hope that he would be ready in time to play against the Dolphins. Unfortunately the short week made it hard for him to get any practice time in beforehand and may ultimately keep him out.
Kirkpatrick suffered a strained calf in the Bengals loss to the Denver Broncos this past Sunday that has been bothering him since. He’s been unable to practice and the short week makes his return extremely unlikely.
The timing for Kirkpatrick’s injury is certainly untimely. He recorded his first interception in the past 20 games in Week Two against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, so it appeared like the cornerback was finally living up to the potential he has.
Darqueze Dennard will likely replace him in the starting lineup if he’s unable to play.
In addition to Eifert and Kickpatrick, there was one other person on the injury report. Safety Derron Smith is listed as questionable.