The Cincinnati Bengals were dealt a significant blow with linebacker Nick Vigil expected to be sidelined for a month with a sprained MCL.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport first reported that Vigil was injured on a cut block during Sunday's 28-21 setback to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Vigil, who was spotted on crutches after the game, has recorded a team-leading 51 tackles and four tackles for loss this season with the Bengals.
"What he gives you is he gives you a long, athletic linebacker, almost like a big strong safety who can play in the box, he can cover tight ends, he's good with backs," Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told Cincinnati.com. "That's the stuff you'll miss with him. A guy that you can match up with different types of guys, different core guys, and he's pretty effective with all of them."
The 25-year-old Vigil has 151 tackles, one sack and one interception in 33 career contests since being selected by Cincinnati in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Vincent Rey, Vontaze Burfict, Preston Brown, Jordan Evans and Hardy Nickerson are candidates to pick up the slack in the absence of 6-foot-2, 240-pound Vigil.
Linebacker has been a troubling position for the Bengals this season. Burfict was suspended the first four games and Brown missed two games due to injury. Rey, Evans and Nickerson have also taken snaps and rookie Malik Jefferson was active against the Steelers.
Vigil being off the field also affects communication from Austin to the defense on the field. Vigil has served as the Bengals' helmet communicator, speaking directly to Austin through a headset. Rey, a nine-year veteran, took over those duties in Vigil's absence against the Steelers. Austin said he would determine later this week who will handle the role on the field Sunday at Kansas City.
In other injury developments, cornerback Darqueze Dennard was spotted with his arm in a sling after Sunday's game. It is not immediately known how long the 5-11, 200-pound Dennard will be sidelined, however.
Dennard collected four tackles in the loss to the Steelers.
The 27-year-old Dennard has collected 198 tackles, three sacks and as many interceptions in 61 career contests since being selected by the Bengals in the first round -- 24th overall -- of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Shawn Williams, Jessie Bates and Dre Kirkpatrick were also hobbled against Pittsburgh.
"That's the nature of this business and we have to have the guys behind them step in and do a good job," Austin said. "That's why in the offseason you do those OTAs and you do maybe a couple field things so guys are getting extra reps. It's inevitable."
--S Shawn Williams (concussion) is likely out of Sunday's game at the Kansas City Chiefs.
--CB William Jackson played in 63 of 74 possible snaps against the Steelers last week despite having a limited week of practice with knee issues.
--LB Vontaze Burfict, suspended for the first four games, nearly doubled his snaps against Pittsburgh with 61 after playing in only 34 snaps in the first game.
--TE Tyler Kroft did not suffer a season-ending foot injury against Pittsburgh, according to coach Marvin Lewis. "He should be OK this season," Lewis said.
--CB Dre Kirkpatrick, who has been suffering from back and groin injuries lately, exited late against the Steelers last week. His availability against the Chiefs this week is uncertain.