Social media sleuths caught something notable in a video tweeted by the Bengals on Wednesday: In the background, Joe Burrow appeared to be wearing a brace or sleeve on his hand and wrist.
The Bengals ultimately deleted the post, raising eyebrows, but Burrow started the team’s “Thursday Night Football” game against the Ravens without issue — until the second quarter.
Burrow appeared to be in significant pain one play after a hit from Jadeveon Clowney, favoring his throwing hand. He tried to warm up on the sideline but couldn’t get a good grip on the ball and was seen shaking his head.
Burrow walked back to the locker room and didn’t play for the remainder of the half. The Bengals labeled Burrow as questionable to return with a wrist injury, and he was later ruled out.
MORE: Latest injury updates on Joe Burrow
It’s not uncommon for a quarterback to deal with hand and wrist issues, even if they’re minor, but what made the since-deleted social media video so peculiar was the fact that Burrow never surfaced on the injury report with any kind of wrist issue.
Lots of talk about a deleted #Bengals post, which showed Joe Burrow wearing some type of brace or sleeve on his right wrist.
🎥 Here’s video of Burrow getting off the team bus in Baltimore.
Not a perfectly clear shot, but you can definitely see it on his hand.@WCPO pic.twitter.com/XcqX6oMODA
— Caleb Noe (@CalebNoeTV) November 16, 2023
The video could be enough to get in some trouble with the league. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the league is investigating why Burrow wasn’t listed on the injury report after the picture showed something on his wrist.
The NFL is investigating why the Bengals did not list QB Joe Burrow on their injury report when the team posted a picture of him wearing a device on his wrist Wednesday night and he appeared to be hampered by the injury early in the Thursday night game that he later left, the… pic.twitter.com/xba8URiWri
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 17, 2023
The NFL has begun cracking down on the way teams use injury reports as its partnerships with fantasy and betting sites grow. In October, the league questioned the Falcons after RB Bijan Robinson played sparingly against the Buccaneers despite not being listed on the injury report.
The NFL is now asking injury-report compliance questions to the Atlanta Falcons about when they knew rookie running back Bijan Robinson wasn’t physically well and why it was not reported, as per league policy.
It is standard practice for the league to question teams about a…
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 23, 2023
In that case, according to Schefter, the Falcons said Robinson was dealing with headaches that didn’t begin until the night before the game and claimed they expected him to play until they persisted. Schefter reported that injury report violations have led to fines; it’s not clear whether Atlanta was found to have committed a violation.
In the Bengals’ case, evidence of a brace or sleeve on Burrow’s wrist a day before he exited with a wrist injury could certainly be enough to draw questions from the league.
Bengals injury report
The Bengals already entered Thursday night’s game with a key absence, as WR Tee Higgins was inactive for his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, WR Ja’Marr Chase was active despite entering the Bengals’ Week 10 matchup with a back injury.
With Burrow and Higgins out, backup QB Jake Browning will have to lean heavily on Chase along with Tyler Boyd, Trenton Irwin, and Andrei Iosivas to round out Cincinnati’s wide receiver group.
The Bengals received better injury news before Thursday’s game, as star pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson was able to suit up despite suffering a hyperextended knee four days earlier in the loss to Houston.
Burrow’s injury, of course, overshadows everything else for the Bengals, and questions will persist regarding whether the team already knew he was dealing with hand or wrist pain leading up to the game in Baltimore.
To make matters worse, Cincinnati lost CB Cam Taylor-Britt to a quad injury against the Ravens as well.
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