Tyler Eifert gives a timetable for his return from ankle surgery

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When Tyler Eifert started jogging this week he said he was hoping to play in the Cincinnati Bengals’ regular-season opener. That seemed overly optimistic, considering he was just starting to jog this week.

A more realistic timetable was given on Friday. The Bengals’ tight end should be able to return from ankle surgery sometime about Week 4-6. The surgery was a result of an injury in the Pro Bowl. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on the new timetable, and said Eifert is hoping the return comes in Week 4.

Of course, try to find an athlete who hasn’t predicted he’d be back at the earliest possible date. Even if Eifert is right and he’s back in Week 4, or even Week 6, there will still be a big hole in the Bengals’ offense. Cincinnati lost receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency. Eifert had 13 touchdowns last season and was one of Andy Dalton’s favored targets, especially in the red zone. Aside from A.J. Green (and heck, maybe even he will miss a game), the Bengals won’t have much of their very successful pass game from last year on the field for the start of the 2016 season.

There’s no real guarantee Eifert just picks up where he left off, either. He didn’t even start jogging until the preseason was half over, about seven months after the Pro Bowl injury, so obviously this was no minor injury. It’s just as likely we don’t see the Eifert we’re used to seeing until the second half of the season.

At least there’s a timetable for his return now. The Bengals just have to figure things out until he’s ready to come back.

Tyler Eifert (AP)
Tyler Eifert (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!