Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth missed his fourth straight training camp practice last night because he is trying to give his knee more time to strengthen and ensure it holds up over a 16-game NFL season. Whitworth had surgery in late February to remove scar tissue from the knee, which had been hampering him the past couple of seasons, and have left him absent for much of the past couple of training camps. It also caused him to get off to a slow start in 2012 before regaining form in the second-half of the season, and made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his 7-year career.
Whitworth is confident he’ll be ready for the opener vs. the Chicago Bears:
The thing you can’t simulate is football. It’s getting out there and doing football, and with something like this — it’s a tendon — it has to do something and adjust and then do a little more and then adjust. That’s what we will do. It’s just like anything else, you have to develop the strength in it. This is kind of the first step in football. We’ll progress through that.
Whitworth leads all active Bengals with 67 straight starts, including the playoffs, so it’s going to be tough to knock him out of game action. Last season, Whitworth was ranked sixth among left tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.
He’s not alone on the sidelines unfortunately, as guard Clint Boling has been plagued with a hamstring injury, and center Trevor Robinson is still working his way back from a pectoral injury that kept him out of offseason drills.
Depending of how fast these guys can heal, we may see a pretty thin o-line this coming Thursday when the Bengals open the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons.