Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has his sights set on playing in Week 10 despite a back injury.
“In my head, I’m playing until further notice,” Chase told reporters on Thursday, according to Charlie Goldsmith of The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Chase suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Bengals’ 24-18 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football. He did not participate in Cincinnati’s practice on Wednesday, according to the team’s injury report, but was listed as a limited participant on Thursday.
Tee Higgins, however, missed practice with a hamstring injury he suffered on Wednesday and is now expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Higgins has struggled to stay healthy in 2023. He also missed the Bengals’ Week 5 victory against the Arizona Cardinals due to a rib injury.
Higgins is averaging a career-low 46.9 receiving yards per game this season.
As for Chase, he’s suited up in every contest for Cincinnati so far. He’s recorded 697 receiving yards in eight games, the eighth-highest mark in the league.
The 23-year-old has been one of the best receivers in the NFL since he was drafted in 2021, recording 232 catches for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns in 37 career regular season games.
While Chase is confident in his ability to return from the injury quickly, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor isn’t ready to jump to conclusions.
“He’s sore right now,” Taylor said on Monday (per Goldsmith). “Impossible to say the day after the game. We’ll take it day to day.”
If both Chase and Higgins can’t play, it’ll be interesting to see how quarterback Joe Burrow looks without his top two options in the passing game. Tyler Boyd has amassed a modest 300 yards in the slot, although the Bengals’ fourth-leading receiver is running back Joe Mixon.
Cincinnati would likely lean on 27-year-old Trenton Irwin to replace the available snaps, as he’s previously started two games this season and recorded 101 yards.
The Bengals would also increase the role of rookie wide receiver Andrei Iosivas if Chase is unable to go. The sixth-round pick has just four receptions in limited action, although two of his grabs went for touchdowns.
Cincinnati takes on the Texans in Week 10, with kickoff slated for 1 p.m. ET.