While most Cincinnati Bengals fans were falling asleep with visions of an AFC North title dancing in their heads, the team's first first-round pick, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, was apologizing for a leg injury he suffered that could cause him to miss all of his first training camp as a pro.
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora first reported the injury on Twitter on Tuesday night, revealing that Kirkpatrick had told his teammates about the injury "in (the) knee area that could cause him to miss much of camp."
Kirkpatrick popped up on Twitter about two hours later, confirming the injury with a message to the team's fans:
I'm sorry about my injury and im going to try my best to get back and help the team to get to a Super Bowl and once again I'm sorry #WhoDey— Dre Kirkpatrick (@DreKirkSWAG) July 25, 2012
Geoff Hobson, from the team's official site, chimed in Wednesday morning with a report that the team examined the injury two weeks ago and didn't think it was serious enough to announce until the team does its physicals on Thursday.
According to Hobson, "Indications are (Kirkpatrick will) be out a month at most and they don't expect any long-term impact."
Update: The NFL Network reports that Kirkpatrick will miss six weeks and "likely the start of the regular season" with a fracture in his knee. Kirkpatrick could also lose money because the injury occurred away from the team, according to the report.
CBS Sports' Will Brinson reported that a league source told him the injury could be a small broken bone.
Hobson pointed out that Kirkpatrick had enough problems with the transition to off coverage this spring that some speculated that he could be deactivated for the first few games while he adjusted to the pros.
Combine that with the time Kirkpatrick will miss in camp and preseason, and Hobson's prediction that the team could carry seven cornerbacks into the regular season seems reasonable. Fellow rookie and fifth-round pick Shaun Prater could make the final roster as a result of Kirkpatrick's injury.
While the injury is a blow to the team, the fact that it is not that serious and Kirkpatrick was going to need time to develop anyway does lessen that blow. The worst-case scenario for the Bengals is that the missed time in camp denies him the chance to wrap his head around what will be expected of him in the Bengals defense this year and minimizes his impact in his rookie year.
If that's the case, look for the ragtag bunch of castoffs at cornerback that includes Terence Newman, Jason Allen and Adam Jones to play a bigger role than the Bengals wanted them to this year.
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