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Andy Dalton suffers fractured hand, will miss Week 15 vs. 49ers

Dalton suffered an injury to the thumb on his throwing hand.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton went to the locker room early in the team's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday after suffering an injury to the thumb on his throwing hand. The Bengals initially announced that his return to the game was questionable, but downgraded him to out shortly thereafter.

After the game, Dalton said he had a fracture in his hand and that he would see a hand specialist on Monday, according to Josh Kirkenhall of Cincy Jungle. Dalton will miss the team's Week 15 game against the San Francisco 49ers, head coach Marvin Lewis announced after the game, according to Coley Harvey of ESPN.

There's no word on whether or not Dalton will miss time beyond that game. It could be season ending with the best-case scenario being an appearance in the playoffs, according to Bob Holtzman of ESPN, but there is nothing official from the team yet.

Dalton, 28, is having a career-best season for the Bengals with 25 touchdowns, six interceptions and an NFL-leading 107.4 passer rating entering Week 14. Against the Steelers, he threw just five passes, completing three for 59 yards with an interception (his seventh of the season) before leaving with the injury.

Dalton appeared to suffer the injury while making a tackle after throwing the interception, jamming his right hand in the process.

The backup for the Bengals is former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He never played as a rookie and has appeared only in clean-up duty for the Bengals in 2015, completing 3 of 4 passes for 22 yards. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is their emergency backup quarterback.

Cincinnati leads the AFC North with a 10-2 record and can clinch the division with a win against the 7-5 Steelers.