Entering the week of preparation for the Week 11 matchup at Acrisure Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals are one step closer to getting a standout player back in the mix.
Just not that player many are hoping for.
On Monday, the Bengals opened the 21-day window for standout defensive tackle D.J. Reader, who has been on the Reserve/Injured List since suffering a knee injury in the Week 3 over the New York Jets.
Late in the second quarter in the Bengals’ 27-12 win over the Jets in Week 3, Reader went down after making a tackle. He was able to walk off the field on his own, but after being examined by the trainers, he was declared out.
Reader previously missed most of his first season with the Bengals due to an injury in 2020, but returned in 2021 and became one of Cincinnati’s top defenders in the team’s Super Bowl run. He started 15 regular-season games and all four playoff games at NT in 2021, and was a key factor in Bengals’ jump from 29th in run defense in 2020 (148.9 yards/game) to fifth in 2021 (102.5).
Entering 2022, the Bengals have allowed just three 100-yard rushers in the 24 combined games in which Reader has played.
Reader’s 21-day window activation means he could return for the Week 11 matchup against the Steelers, though that could be a bit of stretch considering he’s missed nearly two months with the knee injury. Today starts a 21-day period during which Reader may practice with the team without counting against the 53-player active roster. He is eligible to be activated to the roster at any time during that period.
His return to the lineup could be a big boost for a Bengals’ run defense, which currently ranks 17th in the NFL in yards per game at 118.8 per game.