Bengals G Wharton hurts knee, leaves on cart

CINCINNATI (AP) — Left guard Travelle Wharton hurt his right knee during Cincinnati’s opening series and left the field on a cart, the start of a series of injuries to Bengals starters.

Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and defensive end Carlos Dunlap also left the field with injured right knees during the following series, costing the Bengals three of their starters in the opening 5 minutes of a preseason game against the New York Jets.

Wharton appeared to be the most seriously injured. He went down while pass blocking on the Bengals’ third play, rolled over in pain and stayed down for several minutes while trainers moved his leg to check his knee. They called for a cart to take him from the field for tests.

Wharton signed as a free agent last March after spending eight seasons with Carolina. Clint Boling replaced him.

On New York’s next play, Maualuga hurt his right knee and needed help to get off the field, wrapping his arms around two trainers while walking gingerly to the sideline. Later in that series, Dunlap hurt his right knee and stayed down on the field, removing his helmet while trainers jogged to him.

Dunlap eventually walked off slowly with assistance. He had 9 sacks as a rookie in 2010, but was limited by injuries last year and had only 4 sacks.