Oct 13, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bengals guard Clint Boling (65) blocks Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bengals beat the Bills 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals are busy preparing for their first live action of 2014, the preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday. Part of those preparations will have to include how to overcome the absence of several key players, who won’t be suiting up due to injury or inadequate time in training camp. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com gives a rundown of Thursday’s absentees via Twitter.
Definitely out are DT Geno Atkins, LB Sean Porter, LB J.K. Schaffer, and OT Andre Smith:
Atkins spent the off-season recovering from a torn ACL, and Josh Katzowits of CBSSports.com reported last week that he is expected to be available for the regular-season opener in Baltimore on September 7. Atkins was removed from the PUP list last Wednesday and has participated in training camp activities this week.
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Hobson reports that G Clint Boling is also unlikely to play on Thursday. Like Atkins, Boling spent the off-season rehabbing an ACL tear, but, as Coley Harvey reported last week on ESPN.com, Boling is blowing through his recovery at a nearly unprecedented pace. Boling’s surgery took place on December 31, which left him just short of seven months to get ready for training camp, yet he arrived at Paul Brown stadium on time and in line to reclaim his starting role.
To be sure, the Bengals would love to have everyone healthy and ready to roll for this first preseason game, but the more important goal is to have them all in place for the Baltimore Ravens a month from now. As fans, we might not see the entire starting roster on Thursday, but we should get a glimpse into how some of the camp battles are playing out — back up receivers, linebackers, and centers will all be on display.