It looks like the Cincinnati Bengals could be without a key player for a while.

Tight end Drew Sample was carted off the field on Thursday during practice. Getting carted off the field doesn’t always mean a player’s injury is serious — there are lots of players carted off this time of the year for various reasons.

But in Sample’s case, it appears that his injury is significant enough to keep him off the field for at least a few weeks.

Sample, one of the premier blocking tight ends in the NFL, was spotted at practice on crutches with a knee brace on Friday.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said after practice that Sample will likely be out a few weeks with a knee injury, though he noted that Cincinnati probably “dodged a bullet”.

It’s great news for Cincinnati that it’s not a season-ending injury for Sample. But the fact there’s an injury that’s going to keep a key player out for possibly the rest of training camp is not great news. In fact, it’s bad news.

One of the main goals of training camp is to emerge from it healthy. Sample isn’t a player that’s going to be featured on highlights and he’s not going to light up the stat sheet, but he’s still extremely important to Cincinnati’s offense — specifically when it comes to run blocking and pass protection.

Hopefully for the Bengals, this isn’t an injury that lingers all season. Cincy needs Sample on the field in week one when the Bengals kick off the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK