Marvin Lewis: Doctors Said Jeremy Hill's Surgery on Ankle Injury Could Wait

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 5: Head Coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on November 5, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the Bengals 23 to 7. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill's decision to undergo season-ending ankle surgery came as a surprise to head coach Marvin Lewis.

"I think he's consulted a couple physicians," Lewis said Monday, per the Dayton Daily News' Laurel Pfahler. "Both said this is something that could wait until after the season, and he just felt like it was causing too much discomfort."

While Lewis questioned the decision, Hill was arguably more than justified to put his health ahead of playing through an injury for a team that's 3-6 after Week 10.

The Bengals essentially signaled they were moving on from Hill, who's a free agent at the end of the year, when they selected Joe Mixon in the second round of the 2017 draft. With Giovani Bernard signed through 2019, Hill is the odd man out.

And as if the addition of Mixon didn't do enough to emphasize Hill's demotion in the Cincinnati offense, he was averaging a career-low 5.3 carries per game. Prior to 2017, Hill had averaged nearly 14.2 carries per contest.

Hill's focus should be on free agency and doing whatever he can to maximize his value this spring or set himself up for a potentially big payday in 2019. He may prefer to take a short-term contract in 2018 to create more flexibility for the future.

Either way, Hill had little to gain by putting off surgery until after the season.