The Cincinnati Bengals may be 7-4 and on top of the AFC North, but they have to proceed without two of their top defensive talents in defensive tackle Geno Atkins and cornerback Leon Hall. They are on the mend following their respective surgeries, which they both underwent in recent weeks, according to ESPN.
Atkins sustained an ACL tear in his right knee and had his surgery "late last week," while Hall suffered an Achilles tear and had his operation "a few weeks ago." According to head coach Marvin Lewis, things went "very, very well" with Hall's surgery, but Lewis had nothing to offer regarding Atkins' operation. Atkins did tweet regarding a successful surgery, however, as Cincy Jungle pointed out.
Thank God for a successful surgery, I want to Thank everyone for there support and prayers. http://t.co/n6eeFf8afy— Geno Atkins (@GenoSacks) November 14, 2013
Hall has been down this road before, as this is his second Achilles tear. Hall originally tore his left Achilles two seasons ago, which was a huge loss for Cincinnati. Hall had earned plenty of respect in previous years, forming a tight tandem with Johnathan Joseph as a starter. He earned himself a four-year contract extension worth $39 million on Sep. 2, 2011, but sustained the initial Achilles injury on Nov. 13.
In 2012, Hall returned from injury and started in 14 games. He looked solid, with two interceptions and a touchdown, and was a starter heading into this season. Obviously, it's a long road to recovery and he won't be looking at a return until training camp or later next season. Still, the biggest thing to note regarding Hall is that he's been here before. He's shown that he can recover from this kind of injury and still be effective.
Atkins is a different story. He has been a starter since 2011, his second season, and hasn't had a significant injury throughout his entire career. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012, and is regarded as one of the top defensive tackles in the game. But so much of playing that position -- really, any position -- relies on leverage and puts pressure on the knees.
It's just the Bengals' luck, as Atkins signed a five-year, $55 million extension on Sep. 2. He sustained the ACL injury against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 31 and realistically he's looking at a return right around training camp next season. Then again, ACL injuries are rough and Atkins could be out longer or not look the same for some time.
Both players should be ready around the same time next year, it seems. It will be interesting to see how Atkins handles the recovery and if Hall, who sustained the Achilles tear on separate ankles, regresses after another major injury.