This will be the third consecutive game Higgins has missed due to a hamstring injury he suffered in practice on Nov. 8, leaving quarterback Jake Browning without one of the top offensive weapons for his NFL starting debut.
Cincinnati Bengals Are Taking It Slow With Tee Higgins
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor shot down the suggestion that Higgins, who is not under contract beyond this season, is not playing due to any sort of business decision.
— Jay Morrison (@ByJayMorrison) November 24, 2023
“He did this two weeks and two days ago. That is not that long,” Taylor said. “I think he’s on a good track. I’m encouraged to where’s he progressing to. It feels like it was a long time ago. It was not. He did this on a Wednesday of (Houston) Texans week, that was 16 days ago.
“For a receiver, we just want to be mindful. So we got to the sense we didn’t feel good about him going this week, so let’s not push him at practice,” Taylor continued. “He’s pushing himself in the rehab process, but there was no reason to integrate him into practice and risk a setback with him doing something away from the trainers.”
Asked if he gets the sense Higgins wants to be on the field as much as possible, Taylor said, “Yes, I have. All the time. Tee’s really been a good communicator in terms of some guys you don’t have a great feel for what they’re feeling or if they’re gonna practice. Tee’s pretty clear. You can go and be direct with Tee, and he’s gonna give you good feedback. At the end of the day, that’s what you ask for.”
Taylor-Britt has appeared in 23 consecutive games since making his NFL debut in Week 7 last year. He played through a quad injury earlier this season but reaggravated it in the 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week.
Look for Chidobe Awuzie to get the start in his spot, with rookie DJ Turner making his seventh consecutive start on the opposite side.
On the positive side of the injury report, Taylor said defensive end Sam Hubbard is “good to go.”
Hubbard has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and will add a needed boost to the run defense against Pittsburgh backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.
Starting linebacker Germaine Pratt missed Friday’s practice due to illness and is listed as questionable. The team will see how he progresses during the weekend, but it doesn’t appear to be anything that will keep him from playing Sunday.
Expectations are that rookie running back Chase Brown will be activated from IR to the 53-man roster, and quarterback Joe Burrow officially will be placed on IR either later today or tomorrow. Brown also is listed as questionable.
Burrow has been at practice all week, even going through stretches with his teammates. Surgery is expected to be scheduled soon, and Burrow will remain around the team as he recovers.
Backup offensive lineman D’Ante Smith is listed as doubtful with a knee injury suffered in practice Thursday.
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