The Cincinnati Bengals got a modicum of good news Monday.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told reporters that quarterback Andy Dalton won't need surgery on his fractured right thumb. Dalton will not play in Week 15 against the San Francisco 49ers, per Lewis, and the team will take it week by week to determine his availability.
There is hope Dalton can return for the playoffs, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, but will depend on how quickly he heals.
Dalton was knocked out in the first quarter of Sunday's 33-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers after suffering the injury attempting to make a tackle.
With Dalton's timetable up in the air, second-year pro AJ McCarron will make his first career start. The 25-year-old fifth-round draft pick put up 280 yards with two touchdowns and two costly picks in relief of Dalton on Sunday. Dalton is hopeful to return Week 17, the story said, but even that isn't set in stone. Owners should make plans to be without Dalton for at least Week 15, but probably longer.