CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Bengals will have their tight tops on for Sunday’s AFC championship game.
Hayden Hurst was a full participant in Friday’s training session and was not listed in the final report on the state of the game after dealing with a calf injury the day before. Thursday was limited, but it was ultimately a minor issue as the team finished preparations for the conference title game against Kansas City.
“I thought he practiced well today,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said.
Hurst’s limits on Thursday were for precautionary reasons, Taylor said. On Friday, Hurst didn’t appear to hit many runs with the offense during the media-open portion of practice, with reserves Mitchell Wilcox and Devin Asiasi getting the most reps. Hurst wore a compression sleeve on his left leg to keep him warm as the team geared up inside his temporary indoor facility.
Hurst is no stranger to calf injuries this season. He had his right calf modified in the Week 13 win over Kansas City and went on to miss the next three games with the injury.
In the buildup to that game, Kansas City safety Justin Reid misidentified Hurst in an interview before stating he would pin Hurst. Hurst lamented missing that race.
“Sundays are my time to celebrate,” Hurst said. “Last time against these guys, unfortunately my calf gave out. It sucks because I want to be out there with the guys, helping them win.”
The former first-round pick in the 2018 draft signed a 1-year deal with the Bengals last offseason to replace CJ Uzomah, who signed with the New York Jets. Hurst proved to be a key asset to quarterback Joe Burrow in the regular season and continued that form into the postseason.
In the two playoff games, Hurst is second on the team in receptions (9), receiving yards (145) and has one of the team’s three receiving touchdowns.
“He brings a lot of energy, always knows what he’s doing, brings physicality, reliable in the passing game,” Burrow said on Thursday. “Just a trustworthy, reliable and explosive player. I love having him.”
In other injury news, the Bengals will be without two starters on the offensive line for yet another game. Right guard Alex Cappa (ankle) and left tackle Jonah Williams (knee) had no practice all week and were ruled out for Sunday’s game. Cappa hasn’t played since being injured in Week 18, while Williams missed the divisional playoff game after dislocating his kneecap in a wild card playoff win against Baltimore.
Bengals manager Zac Taylor said he has a lot of faith in the unit currently playing three reserves.
“It’s moments like these that you’re going to have to pull out of your depth,” Taylor said. “Those guys have stepped up to the challenge so far.”