CINCINNATI — While the Cincinnati Bengals have remained mostly healthy during their postseason run to the Super Bowl, one of the bigger questions heading into Sunday’s game is the health of tight end, and locker room leader C.J. Uzomah.
Uzomah was injured and carted-off the field the first quarter of the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, suffering what was diagnosed as a sprained MCL. He returned to the field later, without pads or his uniform and walking with help from crutches.
Last week Uzomah didn’t practice Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, and his official status for the Super Bowl is listed as questionable, according to the team’s injury report. However, one of the team’s vocal leaders made a statement during Monday night’s Opening Night Fan Rally at Paul Brown Stadium.
In front of 30,000 fans, Uzomah took to the stage, ripped off his knee brace, and threw it into the air where the brace eventually landed on the field.
“I’m not missing the biggest game of my life. I’m not missing it,” Uzomah said.
Uzomah was filmed with tears in his eyes and his head buried in a towel as he was carted-off the field in the AFC Championship game. He told our news partners at WCPO-TV his emotions had less to do with physical pain and more to do with his inability to return in the game.
“I was upset that I wasn’t going to be able to go out there and compete with the guys and help, on the field, win the AFC Championship,” he told the station.
Uzomah said he was told by the team’s training staff to stay in the locker room after the injury and elevate his leg. However he said he knew it was important to be on the sidelines, but that’s not to say he hasn’t dealt with pain.
“It’s been a grind. It’s been a lot of early mornings and late nights of just rehabbing and fighting through some stuff, but I feel really good. I feel really, really good,” Uzomah told WCPO-TV.
The Bengals’ tight end describes himself as day-to-day as gameday approaches, but said he’s going to do everything he can to contribute on the field.
“If I wake up and I’m like, oh man it’s a little sore, alright, it doesn’t matter...right when I put my feet on the ground, it’s go time,” Uzomah said.
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