Andy Dalton Thumb Injury vs. Browns Diagnosed as Sprain; X-Rays Negative

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2018

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 09:  Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on prior to the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton missed almost the entire second half of his team's 34-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns with a thumb injury.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, X-rays on Dalton's thumb were negative, and he will undergo additional tests. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported the injury has been diagnosed as a sprain.

Marvin Lewis spoke to the media about Dalton's injury after the game, saying, "On first look and everything it's not [serious], but they're going to do some further tests."

Dalton, 31, has seen his last three seasons end in disappointment. He had his most efficient season in 2015, completing a career-high 66.1 percent of his passes while throwing just seven interceptions in 13 games. He threw for 3,250 yards and 25 touchdowns while helping lead the Bengals to a 12-4 record and an AFC North title.

He broke his thumb in Week 14, however, ending his season and keeping him out of the team's 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card Round.

It was a disappointing finish to the season for a team that was 10-2 with a healthy Dalton and was a Super Bowl contender. The team had high hopes heading into 2016, however, as Dalton appeared to turn a major corner in 2015 and looked like one of the league's better quarterbacks.

That didn't come to fruition as injuries to players like A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard contributed to a disappointing 6-9-1 record, leaving the Bengals out of playoff contention. Dalton was average, meanwhile, completing 64.7 percent of his passes while throwing for 4,206 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Disappointment lingered into 2017 as the Bengals finished 7-9, with Dalton throwing for 3,320 yards, 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and completing just 59.9 percent of his passes, his worst mark since his rookie season.

The Bengals had shown more promise in 2018, though Dalton's injury along with a blowout loss to the Browns halts that optimism. While he's injured, Jeff Driskel will step into the starting lineup for the now 5-6 Bengals.