Back from injury, Ja'Marr Chase optimistic entering game vs. Chiefs: 'I don't think I can be stopped'

Ja'Marr Chase hasn't played football since before Halloween.

Luckily for Chase, the Bengals haven't encountered many frights without him. Cincinnati has lost just once since Chase last appeared in a game, improving to 7-4 and moving into a tie with the Ravens atop the AFC North.

Everyone will agree, though, that the Bengals are much better with Chase on the field. He'll return this weekend for a monumental game against a familiar foe in Kansas City -- the same team Chase torched for 320 yards and four touchdowns in their two meetings a season ago.

Chase told reporters Wednesday he feels "great," adding he's free from pain after missing the last month due to a hip injury that took two weeks to discover.

The Bengals receiver initially suffered the injury on his first touchdown reception of Cincinnati's Week 6 comeback win over New Orleans, but stuck around long enough to score the game-winning TD. A week later, he caught eight passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns in a runaway win over Atlanta. But in that game, Chase realized something wasn't right with his hip.

"I just thought it was maybe a glute, something regular," Chase said on Wednesday. "Then I just kept playing. I came in (after the Saints game) to lift and couldn't really move, I was too stiff. I told the trainers that I don't really think I should be doing too much 'cause I can't really move.

"Later in the week, I did a little preparation for the game, and I felt good at the end of the week, but during the first two days of the week I didn't feel too good. By the time the (Falcons) game came, my adrenaline was hyped and I felt good playing. Then I did get hurt again, reaggravated again right before the half. I just felt it like pop and couldn't really walk, so I sat down."

Sitting down quickly became a month of rest and rehabilitation once the Bengals' training staff discovered Chase had suffered a hairline hip fracture and right leg hyperextension in the win over the Saints. Left with nothing to do but heal, Chase felt stuck.

"It's been like COVID. I've been trapped at home," Chase said, via the team's official site.

He's since been freed from the training room and is ready to go against a Chiefs team that will require the Bengals to use the full extent of their offensive firepower.

Cincinnati has enjoyed successes of players not named Chase in recent weeks, with Tee Higgins leading the way, Samaje Perine stepping up in place of the injured Joe Mixon, and previously unknown pass catcher Trenton Irwin playing a secondary role that has become important in key moments. Adding Chase into the mix only bolsters the Bengals' offensive potential.

Chase, meanwhile, believes nothing is impossible for him after a month away.

"I don't think I can be stopped, if I'm being honest," Chase said. "I'm out there playing football, playing my game. So when I'm in a rhythm, on a roll and I'm just playing, you know the timing's there and I'm just playing football."

The Bengals will hope the football is good enough to produce a third-straight win over the heavyweight Chiefs as the calendar turns to December.

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