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How Will Joe Mixon’s Injury Affect the Bengals?

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CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 04: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on December 4, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 04: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium on December 4, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) /
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Joe Mixon will be out a couple weeks as his injury is worse than originally thought. How can the Bengals work around this substantial issue?

The Bengals are in a little bit more trouble as it relates to Joe Mixon than originally thought. Doctors have finally clarified what Mixon’s knee issue was, and it seems like he has a spur loose. It will require arthroscopic knee surgery, which will keep Mixon out for at least a couple of weeks.

If the injury is as minimal as reporters like Adam Schefter seem to think, Mixon may only miss a couple of weeks. Removing a spur isn’t a severe injury, so a clean surgery should get Mixon back on the field for Week 5.

However, there is also no such thing as “minor” knee surgery. Complications from surgery or slow rehab could keep Mixon out 4 weeks or more, which could seriously impact the Bengals’ offense. Mixon has been absolutely fed the first couple of games, so there will be a lot of work and production to spread around when he misses time.

When Mixon is out, Giovani Bernard will almost certainly take on a big chunk of that work. Last season, Bernard stepped up and filled in more than adequately when Mixon missed the end of the season. Bernard has the dual-threat ability that Mixon has as a runner and a passer. Although Bernard is shifty, he lacks the explosiveness of Mixon, which will hurt the running game a little bit.

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The other player to watch for is Tra Carson. The last two games, Carson has been active over Mark Walton, who is a long-term running back prospect. Carson has the physicality to fill in for Mixon in short yardage roles and on the goal line. Bernard has proven that he can’t pick up tough yards all the time. This is definitely Carson’s time to shine – expect him to see a little bit of Mixon’s work while he’s out.

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