Bengals QB Joe Burrow 'on pace' to return in time for Week 1

Joe Burrow returned to Paul Brown Stadium on Monday for a rehab session so important, the Bengals' social team tweeted out a video of his arrival.

Thanks to the video, we discovered that Burrow drives what appears to be a Porsche Taycan, a new and hot item on the electric car market. Much more importantly, though, we learned the new and hot face of the Bengals is taking his first steps toward returning to the field in 2021.

Burrow said Tuesday his knee, which suffered tears to his ACL and MCL in late November, is on track six weeks after surgery with the goal of being ready for Week 1 of the 2021 season.

"That's been the goal for me from the beginning," Burrow said. "They say it's a 9-12 month recovery and the first game is exactly nine months from my injury. We're on pace to do it right now. There's obviously a long road ahead and there's opportunities for setbacks along the road, but as far as right now, it's looking as good as it could for where I'm at in the rehab process."

Burrow is rehabbing along with teammates C.J. Uzomah and Trey Hopkins, who each suffered their own season-ending knee injuries after the team had already lost its rookie quarterback. He said he'll be returning to running on an assisted treadmill -- using about half of his body weight -- in about six weeks, which might sound as if it's soon, but likely still feels far away for the person who has to go through the "long, mundance process" of rehab every day.

"The first two weeks was pretty miserable," Burrow said of the time immediately following his surgery. "Couldn't really get out of bed on my own or do anything on my own. But around week three or four I was able to start walking on my own a little bit. It's starting to feel pretty normal when I'm walking around. Doing some body weight squats and stuff like that, so it's moving along."

Burrow said he's past the painful part of rehab in which a patient is forced to tug on and manipulate the knee in order to promote mobility, and now "the fun part begins," an encouraging point for his mental health amid a challenging and potentially frustrating time. He's essentially counting himself out for any potential preseason game action, setting his sights on Week 1.

As Burrow noted, Week 1 will land right around where the window of returning from an injury as significant as his first opens, meaning he'll have to sustain his positive momentum throughout the remainder of his rehab. The quarterback sounds focused on that goal and also aware of the fact it won't happen overnight.

If everything goes according to plan, Burrow should be able to resume his promising career in September.

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