Injury Report: Bengals Suffer Injury Blow to Defensive Leader Rey Maualuga

Matt Gray@mattkgrayContributor IOctober 17, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10: Rey Maualuga #58 of the Cincinnati Bengals takes a breather during a timeout during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Reports coming out of Cincinnati on Monday via, suggest that middle-linebacker Rey Maualuga may have a more serious ankle injury than initially presumed.

Geoff Hobson of the team's website reported that Maualuga appeared in the locker room on Monday sporting a pink cast on his injured ankle, and using crutches to walk.

With Maualuga declining to comment on the injury, and Marvin Lewis simply stating that the ankle was not "medically" broken, you have to think Maualuga will not be ready when the team heads to Qwest Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks on October 30th.

What was initially thought to be a lightly sprained ankle acquired during Thursday's practice, seems to have developed into something a lot more troublesome, as is evident from the crutches and cast, although with advancements in injury treatment its hard to know whether or not Maualuga is trying to speed up the process of healing a slight injury, or whether it is in fact more substantial. 

However, with Maualuga declining to comment on his status, the smart money would suggest things aren't looking great right now.

Dan Skuta stepped into Maualuga's spot on Sunday and did well to take command of the defense, leading them to some big stops and managing a great fourth quarter shut-out and a win against the Colts. It was a reassuring performance, and Mike Zimmer should be able to rely on him to fill the MLB spot until Rey returns.

Maualuga is one of the defense's most vocal leaders and his lack of presence on the field could be detrimental to not only the defense's performance, but to their psyche. It will be up to the likes of Leon Hall, Domata Peko and Chris Crocker to keep the now former No.1 defense focused and productive as we go forward. 

With the bye-week upon us, Maualuga's injury has happened at as convenient a time  as it could have, with the Bengals defensive leader having double the time to rehab his injury, and while no timetable has been set for his return, Maualuga's character would suggest that he will be trying to speed the process up and get back out there, so we should no more as the week progresses.