Bengals rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick’s chances of winning a starting job took a serious blow when he fractured a bone in his leg preparing for training camp, but it doesn’t look like the injury will keep him out for much, if any, of the regular season.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Kirkpatrick is expected to miss two to four weeks as a result of the injury. There doesn’t appear to be a need for surgery, which suggests that Kirkpatrick won’t need more than rest and rehab work with the Bengals medical staff to get back on the field.
That’s not to say that the injury won’t have ramifications for Kirkpatrick. Missing any significant chunk of a first NFL training camp is going to leave a rookie behind and any kind of setback will leave him without any preseason action to use as a foundation for the regular season. In a worst case scenario, Kirkpatrick could have a repeat of Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara’s 2011 season when an early injury dragged into the season and wound up relegating the first rounder to a largely observational role.
The Bengals have to decide whether or not to place Kirkpatrick on the non-football injury list, a designation that would allow them not to pay him until he’s healthy enough to get on the field. If they make that choice, Kirkpatrick’s injury will wind up costing him a lot on and off the field.