It’s been nearly two weeks since Joe Burrow had his appendix removed and in the time since that operation, the Bengals have given zero hints about when their star quarterback might be able to return to the field.
During a press conference on Friday, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said that Burrow was “day-to-day,” but as it turns out, the quarterback might actually be closer to “week-to-week.” Although the Bengals have been vague about when he might return to the field, Burrow’s dad, Jimmy, offered up some new information late last week.
During an interview on the “In the Trenches” podcast hosted by Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham, the elder Burrow said it might be a “few weeks” before his son is able to return to the field.
“It set him back,” Jimmy Burrow said of the surgery. “But he seems to be getting better every day, and hopefully, here in a few weeks we’ll be back out on the field.”
After Burrow had his appendectomy on July 27, the estimate at the time was that he would be able to return to the field after one to four weeks of recovery. If Jimmy Burrow’s new timeline is accurate, that means it could still be a few weeks before Joe is practicing again, which means the Bengals might not have him back on the field in full gear until the end of August or even the beginning of September (He might throw or do drills before that, but it seems unlikely that he would practice).
Burrow has been at the Bengals’ facility on most days since July 29. Even though he’s not practicing, he has been a highly visible figure at the practice field thanks to his new golf cart (He even “ran” wind sprints in his cart at one point last week).
The Bengals had a practice on Sunday and that session marked the first time since his surgery that Burrow was seen out of his golf cart for any extended period of time.
This Wednesday (August 8) will mark the 14th day since Burrow’s surgery, and in most cases, that’s usually the window where you’d see a player return. For instance, during the 2021 preseason, Rams backup quarterback John Wolford was able to return from an appendectomy in just 13 days.
That’s not to say that Burrow should be able to match that, but it would make sense for them to have a similar recovery window. However, based on Jimmy Burrow’s comments, it sounds like Joe’s operation might have been more serious than your normal appendectomy. At one point in his interview with Lapham, Jimmy Burrow called Joe’s operation a “major surgery.”
“There’s always a danger and complications for a surgery like that,” Jimmy said. “Joe’s just got to listen to his doctors and trainers over at the facility and take it easy. He’s not one to kind of take it easy, but he’s got to and it will be best for the long run if he makes sure he does what he’s supposed to.”
Jimmy was also asked if Joe’s appendix had actually ruptured and he refused to confirm or deny that possibility (The recovery time for a ruptured appendix is generally a few weeks longer than for an appendix that didn’t rupture).
“I’m not sure,” Jimmy said when asked about a rupture. “We heard from a lot of different doctors and heard a lot of different things. I’ll let Joe, if he wants to tell you any of the details, I’ll let him tell you the details.”
The elder Burrow also noted that his son’s appendix issue kind of came out of nowhere.
“This one kind of surprised us,” Jimmy Burrow said. “I had never really been around anybody that had it. It’s a painful, not a very fun thing for somebody to have, especially Joe.”
If the Bengals are taking it slow with Burrow, it’s because they don’t want to take any chances with their franchise quarterback. As Jimmy pointed out in the interview, his son is a fierce competitor and that could actually work against him if he were to try and return from the injury too soon.
“He’ll definitely want to push the envelope when he starts feeling better,” Jimmy said. “I know he’s concerned about being healthy the whole season and knows that a setback here in the next few weeks would put him behind for the season.”
The last thing the Bengals would want to see is a setback, which is probably why the team has refused to put a timeline on a possible return for their star QB, who led Cincinnati to the Super Bowl last season for the first time in 33 years. He’ll play when he’s ready to play and he’s simply not ready to play yet.
Burrow took it slow in the preseason last year as he worked his way back from an ACL tear and that ended up working out pretty well for Cincinnati.
This year, the good news for the Bengals is that it seems like Joe is doing just fine, he’s just not quite ready to practice.
“I think he’s good, he’s getting better every day,” Jimmy Burrow said. “He really likes being around his teammates, so he spends as much time up there at the facility as he can.”
Based on what the elder Burrow had to say, it’s probably safe to assume that there’s basically a zero percent chance that you’ll see Joe Burrow taking a single snap during the preseason, which means the first time he’ll take the field this year will likely come in Cincinnati’s regular-season opener against the Steelers on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.