Not what the Cincinnati Bengals wanted to hear in the midst of Rey Maualuga’s breakout season.
The third-year middle linebacker will miss Sunday’s game against the visiting Indianapolis Colts with what the team is calling a sprained ankle. Course, with how tight-lipped the Bengals are when it comes to injuries, who knows exactly the severity of the ailment.
Maualuga (6-2, 260) was a second-round draft pick out of USC in 2009. He backed up Dhani Jones his first two seasons in the NFL, and also started a few games at the strong-side ‘backer spot. However, in a move that was at least a year overdue, the Bengals finally moved him to the middle this season (the position he played in college) and he has played well for the most part. Maualuga leads the Bengals in total tackles with 38 (19 solo) and while he still has a ways to go to be a standout on this level, he’s already at least a solid NFL middle linebacker.
In his place, the Bengals will start third-year pro Dan Skuta who was an undrafted free agent out of Division II Grand Valley State. Skuta has been a special teams standout for the team during his young career.
A win on Sunday would put the Bengals at 4-2, which would be huge entering their bye week. The Colts come into town at 0-5 and without future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, but they have been playing better of late.