Giovani Bernard may not be ready for Week One

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The Bengals drafted running back Joe Mixon in the second round of this year’s draft in a move that’s sure to impact Giovani Bernard’s role on the team moving forward.

Bernard is going to have to get healthy enough to start playing in games before we’ll find out how much that role will change, however. Bernard tore his ACL last season and has not yet been cleared for a full return to football activities.

Geoff Hobson of the team’s website reports that Bernard should avoid going on the physically unable to perform list to start the season, but suggests that he may not make it back for the first game of the year. Hobson writes that the team likely doesn’t “want to rush him back into the first couple of regular-season games” and that Mixon would likely fill any third down needs until Bernard gets back.

There’s still a lot of time to go before any decisions need to be made on that front, but an impressive summer for Mixon would only make it easier for the Bengals to take their time getting Bernard back up to full speed.