Burrow could be limited this week, but expects to play

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is going to try some different things in practice this week to see what helps him best manage the right pinky he dislocated in Sunday’s loss to the L.A. Chargers.

Burrow still expects to play against the San Francisco 49ers, but could be limited this week as he tries to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the injured finger. He’s also staying away from upper body weight lifting but continuing to work out his lower body.

“It’s getting better each day,” Burrow said Wednesday, noting he had some swelling but nothing too bad.

Meanwhile, the Bengals are getting some reinforcements back in practice with cornerback Trae Waynes and rookie offensive lineman D’Ante Smith cleared to practice after stints on injured reserve. They have a 21-day window to be added to the active roster, and the timing for Waynes’ return from a hamstring issue especially is beneficial as Chidobe Awuzie’s status remains in question this week because of a foot injury Sunday.

Smith, who was out with a knee injury, likely will have more time to settle back into practices, as the Bengals have been satisfied with Hakeem Adeniji’s progress at right guard and center Trey Hopkins and right tackle Riley Reiff are expected to be back from ankle injuries in time for Sunday’s game. Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Reiff will be more limited than Hopkins in practices but both should be getting back to work.

“I expect both those guys (Hopkins and Reiff) to get back this weekend, which we’re optimistic there, so with that being said, you get a chance to get D’Ante back into the mix for this 21-day window but not necessarily needing to get him going on the 53, whereas Trae feels good,” Taylor said. “He’s ready to practice. He’s ready to go. But again, being on the rehab field is one thing. Being out there and actually getting to have some physical reps, we get a chance to look at him this week and certainly if we feel confident enough about what we see and he feels confident enough, then there’s a great chance to be ready.”

Waynes missed all of 2020 with a pectoral injury and was nursing a hamstring issue to start the season but played in Week 4 and 5 before going on injured reserve. Eli Apple has been playing in his place but if Awuzie isn’t able to play Sunday, both players will be needed.

The Bengals will already be without Logan Wilson (shoulder) and possibly linebacker Markus Bailey (shoulder), as Taylor is planning on getting Joe Bachie ready to start in case.

Burrow did not practice Wednesday during the media portion, not surprisingly, but he had said before practice he might get a little work. He hadn’t thrown a football since Sunday and is trying to decide if he will use a glove or tape or anything to stabilize the pinky.

After he injured the finger on a strip-sack the first series, Burrow continued playing through it but tried a glove and tape with neither feeling comfortable. Burrow said the glove was too difficult and too painful to get on, and he hadn’t worked on throwing with a glove yet in practice so he went without it.

“We’ll have to see,” Burrow said about the possibility of wearing a glove this week. “I’m going to try some things this week in practice to see what works best. But we’ll see. I don’t really have the all the answers yet.”

Burrow said his finger “feels pretty good” unless it gets hit. He can still handoff the football without issue and as far as throwing the ball, he just has to grip it a little harder.

Considering he played most of the game with the finger bothering him, Burrow was pleased with how he threw the ball. He still passed for 300 yards and one of his two interceptions was a deep ball Ja’Marr Chase bobbled and lost.

“I thought I threw it well,” Burrow said. “Obviously there are more issues that needed to be addressed, but I don’t think my pinky hampered my ability to execute the way I needed to.”

The strip-sack was something he didn’t see coming while looking for Chase down the field, and his second interception was him trying to force a pass into C.J. Uzomah. Burrow has 14 interceptions and 36 sacks this season, and this week good friend and 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa will be coming after him.

Burrow said he prefers to see Bosa off the field, but his focus now is limiting his mistakes.

“That’s been something I have been disappointed in this year as far as ones that I can control,” Burrow said of his interceptions. “Too many in my opinion. Obviously, there’s been some I can’t control and that’s playing in this league you play some really good players that take advantage of those opportunities. The ones that I can control I need to limit.”


49ers at Bengals, 4:25 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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