Bengals rule out WR Higgins; 'we'll see' on Chase

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CINCINNATI — Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins will not play Sunday against the Houston Texans, coach Zac Taylor said Friday.

Higgins suffered a hamstring injury Wednesday and didn’t practice the rest of the week. He watched the wide receivers in individual drills during the open portion of Thursday’s practice and was not spotted during the viewing window open to the media Friday.

Taylor did not get into Higgins’ long-term availability as he deals with the hamstring injury, especially with the Bengals scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday in a crucial AFC North contest.

“I don’t really care about next week right now,” Taylor said. “He’s not going to play this week.”

Defensive end Sam Hubbard will also be out for Sunday’s game after suffering an ankle injury against the Buffalo Bills in Week 9. Cam Sample, Joseph Ossai and rookie Cam Sample will be among those who will get added reps in Hubbard’s absence, Taylor said.

The odds of wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase playing against the Texans (4-4) were more favorable at the end of the week. After he missed Wednesday’s practice due to a back injury, he was limited Thursday and was spotted again during the open period of Friday’s practice.

Chase is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, with Taylor saying, “We’ll see.”

“I thought he was good,” Taylor said of Chase’s practice Friday.

Cincinnati (5-3) is looking to win its fifth straight game after dropping three of its first four. Since Week 5, Cincinnati’s receivers have led the NFL in receiving yards per game (223.5), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Quarterback Joe Burrow also ranks third in Total QBR during that span.

Tyler Boyd, the longest-tenured player on the roster, credited Burrow and the coaching staff for the ability to interchange receivers successfully.

“You can kind of put any guy out there with Joe as long as they do the things right that they have to do,” Boyd said Wednesday.

Trenton Irwin stepped in for Higgins when he battled a hamstring injury in 2022 and has since developed into one of Cincinnati’s top reserves at the position. His top performance came this season when he caught a career-high eight passes for 60 yards in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Irwin said great preparation and having a strong rapport with Burrow is crucial for those who are pressed into action when injuries arise.

“Joe has to be able to trust that the people know what they’re going to do, where we need to be,” Irwin said. “In order for that to happen, you have to communicate, but you also have to be ready for everything.”

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