Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron sprained his left wrist on the final play of Cincinnati's Monday night overtime loss to the Broncos. His status going forward is in doubt, but the team's quarterback troubles don't stop there. Compounding the situation with the playoffs less than two weeks away, the guy McCarron is filling in for, Andy Dalton, may not be ready to play in time for the opening round of the postseason.
McCarron's injury occurred during the Bengals' first and only overtime drive. Trailing 20-17 following a Denver field goal, McCarron took a snap from the shotgun on his own 32. He bobbled the ball and the Broncos recovered, giving them the win. McCarron afterwards said he was unsure how exactly the injury occurred, but that it did while he dove to recover the ball.
"Diving for the football, and it just happened," McCarron told reporters afterwards, via ESPN.
"It's my fault. I told the guys that," McCarron added. "The snap caught me a little by surprise. I was looking just to see how they were adjusting to A.J. [Green] coming in motion, and it just kind of slipped through my hands and hit my rib protector and bounced off. It's my fault. Simple as that."
McCarron had an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury, and the results revealed that it's a sprain and that there is no fracture. There's still a chance he'll be unable to play on Sunday, and if he's forced to sit out the Bengals will turn to quarterback Keith Wenning, the former Ball State quarterback who was selected by in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. Wenning has never appeared in an NFL game and was on the Bengals' practice squad before being promoted following Dalton's injury.
McCarron on if his wrist injury will keep him out: I hope not.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) December 29, 2015
Cincinnati, which at 11-4 has clinched the AFC North, is still holding out hope that Dalton could return for the team's playoff run. The cast protecting his thumb could be removed Tuesday, according to NFL Media's Mike Silver.
The issue, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, is that the fractured bone hasn't fully healed, meaning Dalton is still a few weeks away from returning to the field. If the Bengals receive a first-round bye -- which would happen if they beat the Ravens in Cincinnati next week and the Broncos lose to the Chargers at home -- it's possible Dalton makes it back for the team's first playoff game. However, if the Bengals are forced to play on Wild Card weekend, it's unlikely they'll do so with Dalton under center.
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