It wasn’t exactly intended that the news of the day would be injuries, but after covering a number of topics on the Browns and Ravens in past days, I thought it would be time to check in with the Cincinnati Bengals, and their top story at the moment, in my opinion, deals with one of their injured starters.
You probably saw what happened to safety Shawn Williams a week or so ago—whenever it was exactly—in the Bengals’ second preseason game. It looked pretty bad, but evidently it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Good news for him, for the team, and for anybody who hates to see somebody get hurt.
The veteran safety landed awkwardly during the game in such a way that resulted in him suffering an elbow injury that involved a discomforting arm angle to even look at. But evidently all that he ultimately did was dislocate his elbow.
Now, that is not to make light of the potential seriousness of a dislocated elbow. While not quite the same thing, Sean Spence suffered a dislocated knee cap several years ago that also in the process of dislocation caused some nerve damage. He didn’t play that season or the next, and one wonders how much of his speed and explosiveness he lost because of it.
Elbows are not knees, to be sure, but it seems that even for an elbow dislocation, Williams got off lightly, and in fact Head Coach Marvin Lewis and the team seem to feel that he may be ready to suit up as soon as their third game of the regular season against the Packers, if not even earlier.
That is a week earlier than the previous earliest estimate that was projected in the days after suffering the injury. “He’s way ahead of where the doctors thought he would be”, Lewis told reporters. “He’s in a brace and moving very well”.
After the Bengals lost Reggie Nelson in free agency last offseason, they promoted Williams into the starting lineup fulltime and gave him a contract extension. He rewarded their confidence in him with a strong season, registering 81 tackles with three interceptions, five passes defensed, and sack mixed in for good measure.
The former third-round draft pick also got a chance to start four games the year prior due to injuries, and he managed to pick up another two interceptions in the process.
In related news, the team’s other starting safety, George Iloka, recently returned to practice after missing most of training camp with a knee injury. He should be good to go for the start of the season, but they may have to make do without Williams for a couple of weeks among a group that includes Derron Smith, Josh Shaw, and Clayton Fejedelem.