Palmer needs to look ahead to 2009

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Friday that Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer likely will not play another game this season. But Palmer will remain around the team and delay a move to the injured reserve list.

But why wait?

If Palmer needs elbow surgery, he should get it now and start the rehab process for 2009. Major surgery could sideline Palmer for up to nine months, which could lead to the beginning of next season.

If Palmer doesn't need elbow surgery, at the very least he has an extensive rehab process to go through. If that's the case, there is no reason for Palmer not to get started in that direction.

What's the point of Palmer hanging around a winless football team?

Palmer is a leader and the face of the franchise, and sources tell Mortensen he doesn't want to abandon the team. That is very admirable, but Palmer would be hurting the franchise more by delaying surgery (if needed) or rehab that could possibly force him to miss games in 2009.

Someone with the Bengals needs to step up and tell Palmer this fact. There's not much he can do from the sidelines to help this year's team. At 0-7, it's a lost cause.

It's Palmer's duty from this point forward to do everything in his power to begin helping next year's group of Bengals.