Bengals' Joseph will undergo surgery for foot fracture

Jonathan Joseph


Second-year cornerback Johnathan Joseph, expected to move into the Cincinnati Bengals' starting lineup in 2007, will be sidelined until the start of training camp by a foot injury he sustained during a Saturday minicamp practice.

The team's first-round choice in the 2006 draft, Joseph will undergo Monday surgery for what is believed to be a minor fracture to his left foot. His foot will be either in a cast or a walking boot for at least a few weeks following the surgery.

Joseph, 23, was injured while covering wide receiver Chad Johnson in a one-on-one drill during the Saturday afternoon practice. He was able to get up and move gingerly on the foot, but a subsequent examination indicated the need for surgery.

Cincinnati officials are confident that, with seven weeks before camp opens, Joseph will be fully rehabilitated by the start of full-scale practices.

A former South Carolina standout, Joseph is projected to move into the vacancy created when 11-year veteran cornerback Tory James signed with New England as an unrestricted free agent. Even before James officially left the team, Joseph seemed tabbed for the starting job, as the Bengals made no attempt to re-sign the more veteran player.

The other starter is Deltha O'Neal. Rookie Leon Hall, the Bengals' first-round choice in this year's draft, is expected to challenge for meaningful playing time.

As a rookie in 2006, Joseph earned extensive playing time, appearing in all 16 games and starting nine contests, either at cornerback or as a nickel defender. Joseph didn't register an interception, but did have 20 passes defensed and recorded 57 tackles.

The Bengals statistically ranked 31st in the league in pass defense in 2006.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com