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Bengals Rumors: La'el Collins' Knee Injury Diagnosed as Torn ACL After MRI

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 25, 2022

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 11: Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) looks onto the field prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals on December 11, 2022, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals are on fire following Saturday's win over the New England Patriots, but it wasn't all good news for the reigning AFC champions.

Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Sunday that an MRI showed right tackle La'el Collins suffered a torn ACL and MCL during the win. He is expected to need approximately seven months to recover, ending his 2022 campaign.

The loss of Collins is all the more difficult for the Bengals because there was some apparent optimism he avoided such a setback.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that initial tests seemed to suggest the ACL was intact and it was more a shifting of the kneecap, which brought "significant pain" but may not have ended his season.

Collins played 74 games for the Dallas Cowboys from 2015 through 2021, but injuries have been a problem in the past.

He missed the entire 2020 campaign with a hip injury and appeared in just three contests in 2016 because of a toe injury. Yet that didn't stop the Bengals from adding him on a three-year deal this offseason as they attempted to bolster an offensive line that struggled even during the run to the Super Bowl last season.

Collins' play has been inconsistent in 2022, and he has a mediocre player grade of 57.8 from Pro Football Focus.

Still, the Bengals have won seven in a row since a 4-4 start, and the offensive line hasn't allowed more than two sacks in any of those contests. That stands in stark contrast to the up-and-down start to the year that saw the Pittsburgh Steelers notch seven sacks, the Dallas Cowboys tally six sacks and the Cleveland Browns post five sacks in games against Cincinnati.

That offensive line will be tested without Collins, and Hakeem Adeniji will likely step in at right tackle.