First-round pick Jackson needs surgery but could return

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Marvin Lewis on Bengals injuries

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Cincinnati Bengals first-round pick William Jackson was sitting in his locker looking at his phone when he felt the presence of approaching reporters.

The rookie cornerback looked up, smiled and shook his head no, saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

The disappointment from tearing his pectoral muscle is still fresh, but it’s also a significant upgrade from the devastation he felt a few days earlier when the prognosis was darker.

“He’s going to have a surgery that’s going to re-attach his pectoral muscle, but we anticipate that he has an opportunity still to play this football season,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “It’s just a matter of how his body heals. He had a little more glide in his stride this morning because he sees some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Jackson was one of two cornerbacks to leave Monday’s practice early, along with 2014 first-round pick Darqueze Dennard (ankle), punctuating what has been the prevailing theme from the first week of training camp.

“We’ve kind of hit the gambit now — soft tissue, concussion, we’ve got it all going on,” Lewis said. “Hopefully this will be our low point and we’ll continue to get healthier as we go. It is part of playing football. Unfortunately some of the guys get hurt. You put the roster together as best as you can to try and be ready for those and you just knock on wood and hopefully we don’t get too many in one position.”

The ankle injury is just the latest setback for Dennard. A hamstring forced him to miss the entire preseason last year, then he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in his first NFL start Nov. 22 at Arizona.

“At some point, you just feel that he’s got to kind of get on the other side of the horseshoe and have things work out for him,” Lewis said. “He’s so conscientious. He wants this. He’s really morphed his body from when we first got him.

“I liken him to how we watched the maturity of Johnathan Joseph and Leon (Hall), when they were young guys. He’s kind of taken those same steps. But unfortunately he just gets tangled up and gets an ankle sprain, and here we are again.”

On Tuesday, tight end Tyler Kroft left practice on a cart after a suffering a left knee injury, although Lewis said he expects Kroft to be ready for the start of the season.

Kroft was filling the role vacated by Pro Bowl starter Tyler Eifert after he underwent ankle surgery in May. Eifert took a positive step in his recovery Thursday, ridding himself of the walking boot he had been wearing and making his first appearance on the side rehab field.

Three other players sat out practice Thursday as wide receiver Jake Kumerow (hamstring), linebacker Trevor Roach (undisclosed) and tight end Matt Lengel (undisclosed) each missed their third session in a row.