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Taylor: Burrow still day-to-day with lingering effects of calf injury

Michael Owens / Getty Images Sport / Getty

CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is still day to day with lingering pain from a calf injury, coach Zac Taylor said Thursday.

It's not yet clear whether the 2022 Pro Bowl quarterback will be healthy enough to start the Monday night game against the Los Angeles Rams. He didn't throw during the early part of practice open to the media Thursday.

“Soreness is an issue right now,” Taylor said. "So giving him some time is best.”

Burrow strained his right calf muscle on the second day of on-field workouts in training camp on July 27. That sidelined him for more than a month, depriving him of valuable preseason reps with his offense.

Burrow said he “tweaked” the calf injury on the Bengals’ final drive of Sunday's 3-point loss to the Ravens. He threw off his back leg and found Tee Higgins in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown, then limped to the sideline favoring his right leg.

Thanks in large part to heavy rain in Cleveland during the opener, Burrow never could find a rhythm and passed for just 82 yards, the lowest total in his pro career. The Browns thumped the Bengals 24-3.

He came out flat again last Sunday against the Ravens, passing for 35 yards in the first half. He began to look like his old self in the second half, moving the ball and throwing a pair of short touchdown passes to Higgins — but also throwing an interception in the red zone when a score would have given the Bengals the lead.

The highest-paid player in the NFL has some experience with health issues. During the 2021 season, he was still rehabbing from major knee surgery late in the previous season but ended up leading Cincinnati to the Super Bowl and was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year.

Just before the start of training camp in 2022, Burrow had an emergency appendectomy. He has acknowledged he wasn't back to full strength for the first part of the season.

The Bengals started 0-2 in 2022, and a loss in Cleveland on Halloween evened their record at 4-4. They won the next eight games to finish the regular season and capture the AFC North title for the second straight season. They beat Baltimore and Buffalo in the playoffs before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

If Burrow can't go Monday, backup Jake Browning, who was on the practice squad last season, would get the nod.

“That’s a challenge," Taylor said. "When you don’t have your starting quarterback, that’s a challenge. But again, when you’ve invested time and effort into Jake, and Jake’s matched that. The guys on our 53-man roster are here for a reason. We believe in them. We know we’re going to call upon everybody at some point, and the quarterback position is no different.”


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