Report: Doctors 'Encouraged' by Joe Burrow's MRI on Knee Injury Ahead of Surgery

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2020

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) points to his knee as he is charted off the field after an injury in the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Landover. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

The Cincinnati Bengals were reportedly "encouraged" by the MRI on rookie quarterback Joe Burrow's knee on Monday.

According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the injury was not worse than they initially expected, and the team is optimistic about Burrow's status for 2021 and beyond:

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter and Ben Baby, Burrow tore both his ACL and MCL, requiring surgery and missing the remainder of the 2020 season.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner suffered the injury during Cincinnati's 20-9 loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday.

While Burrow went just 2-7-1 as a starter before the injury, the 2020 No. 1 overall draft pick was drawing rave reviews not only for his play, but for his leadership and demeanor—all of which allowed him to look the part of a future NFL superstar.

Burrow was very much in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions to go along with 142 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Given that the injury occurred in November, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that Burrow could be ready for the start of the 2021 season should his rehab go well.

Until then, the Bengals are likely to roll with second-year quarterback Ryan Finley, who replaced Burrow on Sunday and went 3-of-10 for 30 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

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Finley, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of NC State, started three games for the Bengals last season, and it didn't go particularly well. In those games, Finley went 0-3 and completed 47.1 percent of his attempts for 474 yards with two touchdowns and two picks.

The Bengals could opt to go with Brandon Allen if Finley struggles again, but it is difficult to envision them enjoying much success down the stretch regardless of who is under center. The 27-year-old, who started three games last season for the Denver Broncos, will be signed from the team's practice squad, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

This season was all about Burrow's development and seeing if he could be the face of the franchise. His rookie year was unfortunately cut short, but Burrow answered a lot of questions and seemingly proved his worth in terms of being capable of leading Cincinnati from the basement and into contention in the coming years.