According to a source, Wharton suffered a season-ending knee injury during Friday night's preseason-opening 17-6 victory against the New York Jets.
Wharton went down while pass blocking on the Bengals' third play of the game, rolled over in pain and stayed down for several minutes while trainers moved his leg to check his knee. He eventually was carted off the field.
Wharton signed as a free agent last March after spending eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and defensive end Carlos Dunlap also left the field with injured right knees during the following series Friday night, costing the team three of its starters in the opening 5 minutes.
Maualuga didn't return, but walked around the sideline freely. The linebacker said after the game that he thinks he'll be all right.
Dunlap eventually walked off the field slowly with assistance. He had 9½ sacks as a rookie in 2010, but was limited by injuries last year and had only 4½ sacks.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.