How long is Joe Burrow out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Bengals quarterback

Joe Burrow didn’t get a chance to contend for Rookie of the Year after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 11.

The No. 1 overall pick out of LSU had shown lots of promise for the Bengals before his rookie campaign had been cut short. Cincinnati had struggled to win games with a poor offensive line and subpar defense, but Burrow had shouldered much of the offensive load, proving he’s indeed the Bengals’ franchise quarterback going forward. The main timeline that matters to Bengals fans now is whether Burrow will be back in time for Week 1 of 2021.

If Burrow returns by then, he’ll have a lot to build on. In 10 games as a rookie, Burrow threw for 2,688 yards (65.3 completion percentage) with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also was an impressive scrambler, rushing 37 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns. 

Here’s what you need to know about Burrow’s injury and when he might return for the Bengals:

How long will Joe Burrow be out?

Joe Burrow will not return until some point during the 2021 NFL season after sustaining a serious knee injury on Nov. 22 against Washington.

 torn ACL as a standalone injury was clasically regarded as a year-long injury but has seen NFL players return from it in two or three less months in recent years. But considering Burrow also tore his MCL and had additional structural damage to his knee, it seems unlikely he’ll be a one-year timeline by too much.

Burrow’s injury came in Week 11, so it wouldn’t be shocking for him to return at the midpoint of the 2021 season. Cincinnati also will likely play it safe with its franchise quarterback and not rush him back if there’s risk of reinjury, especially if the Bengals still need one more rebuilding year before contending. 

Burrow’s surgeon did appear recently on Adam Schefter’s podcast and say he thought Burrow could be ready for Week 1 of next season. 

What is Joe Burrow’s injury?

Initial reports indicated that Burrow had at minimum torn his ACL. The eventual report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter was worse: Burrow tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee while also sustaining additional structural damage to that knee. If you don’t get queasy, the injury can be seen at this video. 

Burrow’s injury occurred against the Washington Football Team in Week 11. Right after releasing a pass, Burrow was hit high and low simultaneously, causing his left leg to be bent at an unnatural angle and tearing multiple ligaments.

The Bengals announced earlier this month that Burrow underwent successful surgery on Dec. 2. 

Joe Burrow injury timeline

Dec. 2 – Burrow undergoes successful surgery on his left knee, the Bengals announced.

Nov. 23 – The Bengals place Burrow on Injured Reserve, a matter of procedure after his reported season-ending injury.

Nov. 22 – Burrow leaves Cincinnati’s Week 11 game against Washington with an apparent left knee injury. It’s later reported as a torn ACL, torn MCL and additional structural damage to that knee.

Joe Burrow injury updates

Dec. 19 – Burrow’s surgeon appears on Adam Schefter’s podcast to say that Burrow could be ready for Week 1 in 2021. 

Dec. 2 – The Bengals announce that Burrow’s left knee surgery was successful.

Nov. 22 – Adam Schefter reports that the knee injury Burrow sustained against Washington was a torn ACL, torn MCL and additional structural damage to his left knee.

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