CINCINNATI — The Bengals placed Joe Burrow on injured reserve on Monday. The 23-year-old suffered a torn ACL, MCL and other damage to his left knee in Sunday's 20-9 loss to Washington.
Burrow is expected to return at some point next season, but head coach Zac Taylor didn't say if the team expects the star rookie to be back in time for the start of next year.
"We expect him to have surgery and rehab and make a full recovery and be ready for the 2021 season," Taylor said on Monday. "He's been in great spirits. On the bus, on the plane, you know, in the facility today, he's responded as well as he could possibly do it and we've all noticed that."
The Bengals are 2-7-1 this season. Plenty of fans have shifted their focus to this offseason, hoping the organization continues to build around Burrow.
ESPN analyst Booger McFarland offered a different take during the Monday Night Football halftime show. He thinks the Bengals should play it safe and keep Burrow out until 2022.
"If you're saying it's going to be 9-12 months and you're talking about it's already in jeopardy as far as '21 season, I'm not bringing him back until 2022," McFarland said. "Joe Burrow is a franchise quarterback. He's the future of this Bengals team. Doesn't seem to be ready to win now. Don't risk him in 2021. Sit him out, bring him back in '22."
That seems a bit extreme considering there's a chance Burrow will be ready for the start of next season.
The Bengals shouldn't rush him back, but it doesn't make much sense to completely rule him out for 2021 at this point.
The Bengals might be 2-7-1 this year, but if they make the changes they need to make this offseason and Burrow returns, then there's no reason why they can't be a playoff contender in 2021.
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