Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross is expected to return in early August after undergoing shoulder surgery, according to Bengals.com. The Bengals’ training camp starts July 29th, and the Washington product does not expect to be on the practice field for the start of camp after tearing his labrum before the NFL draft combine.
“After a labrum tear, the recovery timetable is generally four to six months,” Dr. Selene Parekh, an orthopedic surgeon at Duke University, said. “So if Ross had his surgery done in mid-March, he should be ready to return for the regular season, at the latest.”
Ross apparently had injured his shoulder early in the 2015-16 season, and then reaggravated the ailment during the Huskies’ 24-7 loss against Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals matchup.
The speedster was drafted No. 9 overall by the Bengals after a stellar junior year in which Ross snagged 81 passes for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns. Ross did most of his damage on the outside, often outracing opposing defensive backs for big gains down the field.
Cincinnati brought Ross in to add a must-needed speed component to the Bengals’ wide receiving corps. At Ross’ size—he measures out at 5’11 and 190 pounds—he may not be the classical red-zone threat, but with stars such as fellow wideout A.J. Green and tight end Tyler Eifert as big-body options for quarterback Andy Dalton, Ross will not be asked to outleap opposing cornerbacks.
Where he can do his damage, though, is in the seams. The Bengals have not had a player with Ross’ combination of skill and speed, and he also has a lot of value in the kick return game after taking four kickoffs to the endzone over the course of his collegiate career. With a clearly defined role and his shoulder expected to be a non-issue by the regular season, Ross is certainly worth a later-round draft pick to stockpile wideouts on the bench.
As Ross becomes more and more accostumed to his role, expect Ross’ production to increase. He was a bit of a late-bloomer at Washington and has shown to improve at every level with time. Be patient with the first-year wide receiver, and dividens may start to payoff especially as the fantasy season starts to wind down.