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Bengals QB Joe Burrow set to undergo wrist surgery on Monday

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The post-Joe Burrow portion of 2023 starts today for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The franchise quarterback is set for wrist surgery on Monday, sources say, with the expectation that Burrow will make a full recovery for the 2024 season. Head coach Zac Taylor clarified to reporters on Nov. 20 that Burrow's 2023 season is over, regardless of how far the Bengals potentially advance in the playoffs if they were to qualify.

As the Bengals face the Steelers today in their first game without Burrow, the league is also investigating if Cincinnati should have listed Burrow on its injury report prior to its game against the Ravens on Nov. 16. Burrow was shown on social media leading up to the game, appearing to wear an apparatus on his right wrist.

Sources familiar with the organization say the Bengals have turned in hours of footage to the NFL showing that Burrow was healthy prior to the game. According to those who have seen the footage, Burrow threw the ball normally during practice, without a brace and took all of his normal reps. It also includes documentation from medical personnel stating Burrow's injury was "acute," as Taylor has explained. It was not, the doctors say, an injury that happened over time, sources say.

Based on information turned over by the Bengals, Burrow received no treatment before practice and missed no time in preparation for the game against the Ravens, sources say.

The NFL declined to comment on its investigation.

Burrow told reporters on Nov. 17 that he was wearing a compression sleeve aimed at reducing swelling on flights and that it had nothing to do with a wrist that was not previously injured.

"This is a completely different thing," Burrow said.

Meanwhile, Jake Browning will make his first-career NFL start against Pittsburgh today, and Bengals coaches plan to use the exact same offense with the exact same play-calling menu as they would with Burrow under center. Browning has the full confidence of his coaches, and while Cincinnati might run it a bit more to assist Browning, he has the full game plan available.

Taylor told reporters last week that Browning's proficiency "allowed me to call everything that was on the menu and not have to dumb it down because a new guy's coming in the game."

That's huge.

Browning, 27, is not young but is inexperienced, with just two game appearances in his career. He beat out Trevor Siemian in training camp to earn the backup job, thanks in part to the work he did before the season.

Browning eventually began working with Burrow's QB guru, Jordan Palmer, a consultant who has trained Burrow for years, after being stuck on the Vikings' and Bengals' practice squads since 2019.

Similar to how Burrow's velocity went up after working with Palmer following ACL surgery -- thanks in part to learning to be more efficient with his movements -- Browning benefited as well.

Browning mimicked Burrow's movements while working with Palmer, learning to work efficiently in the pocket but also thriving off-platform. That led to his breakout performance in this year's training camp, when he earned the backup job. Similar to Burrow, he's able to remain even-keeled in big moments, which Taylor noticed when Browning entered the Bengals' Week 11 game against the Ravens following Burrow's injury.

It's why Palmer is optimistic about what's to come for Browning.

"Things are lining up nicely for Jake Browning to go on a run," Palmer said, "based on his style of play and the situation he finds himself in."

Following Monday's surgery, Burrow will be around the team as much as possible, watching Browning attempt to take his team to the playoffs.

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