John Ross Won't Play in Week 1 vs. Ravens After Knee Injury

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2017

Jun 13, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross (15) looks on as teammates run drills during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have announced rookie wide receiver John Ross won't play in Week 1's game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium because of a knee injury. 

Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Ross was going to be sidelined for the 2017 regular-season opener Sunday. 

Ross sprained his knee during the Bengals' preseason finale against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 31. The team listed him as questionable for Week 1 on its injury report after he was a limited participant in practice Thursday and Friday. 

The Bengals made Ross the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and he joined a stable of playmakers that also includes wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Tyler Eifert. 

Knee injuries have been a problem for Ross dating back to his time at the University of Washington. He had lingering knee problems as a sophomore during the 2014 season and missed the entire 2015 campaign after tearing his ACL during spring practice.

Ross also had surgery on his shoulder to repair a torn labrum after the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The 21-year-old is a dynamic playmaker with big-play potential after posting 1,150 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns in 2016 at Washington. 

Because of Ross' injury history, the Bengals had to be extra cautious with their first-year wideout to make sure he wasn't going to risk doing further damage.

Cincinnati's offense is still equipped to be explosive against the Ravens, with Green, Eifert and Brandon LaFell all proven pass-catchers for quarterback Andy Dalton

Injuries were one of the reasons Cincinnati's win total went from 12 in 2015 to six last season. Green, Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard missed a combined 20 games in 2016. 

If the Bengals want to get back in playoff contention this season, they need all of their playmakers operating at the top of their games. Ross figures to play a prominent role in the offense when he's healthy enough to get on the field.