Bengals WR Tee Higgins might try to play with broken rib

CINCINNATI -- It might take more than a fractured rib to keep Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins off the field.

Despite suffering the injury in the first half of Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans, Higgins said that the broken rib could be something he plays through moving forward.

"Really, it's just up to me," Higgins said Monday regarding his timetable for return. "Pain-wise, I might be able to go this week. I might not. You never know."

Higgins initially thought he was dealing with back tightness early in the team's 27-3 defeat. But a later evaluation revealed that he fractured the rib after he believed he "landed wrong." The fourth-year receiver out of Clemson said that it's not an injury that will force him to miss multiple weeks.

"They tried to take me in, but I said I wanted to finish the half out and then check on it at halftime," Higgins said.

He left the game with two catches on four targets for 19 yards and didn't play in the second half.

Cincinnati's offense has been in shambles through the first four weeks of the season. With quarterback Joe Burrow playing through a right calf injury, the Bengals are last in the NFL in offensive points per game and have scored three touchdowns, the fewest in the NFL.

Higgins did not receive a contract extension on his rookie deal, and one does not appear to be imminent. But despite the lack of long-term security, Higgins is more concerned with playing as the Bengals try to improve on a 1-3 start.

"Where the team is right now, I feel like my presence on the field can really help the team," Higgins said. "The next few weeks are huge. Me just going out there, making plays that I know I can make, will help the team out."

This is the first time that Higgins is dealing with a rib injury. He isn't able to sleep on his right side and can feel it when he coughs, he said. But he was adamant Monday that he doesn't intend to be off the field for an extended amount of time. Higgins was also confident in the offense's ability to improve, starting with this weekend's game against the Arizona Cardinals (1-3).

Bengals coach Zac Taylor dismissed any notion that Burrow might not be available as he continues to deal with his calf injury. Taylor also said that Burrow is healthy enough to run a good offense.

Taylor said the offense must find a better rhythm early and needs to convert on third downs. Cincinnati failed on all five of its third-down attempts against the Titans.

"That's really the easiest starting point for us," Taylor said.

In the previous three years, Higgins has been a big reason for the team's offensive success. He amassed more than 3,000 combined receiving yards during that span. He has also scored two of the team's three touchdowns this season. Higgins said that the rib injury is something he will have to deal with as it continues to heal.

"It hurts, but I'm a football player at the end of the day," Higgins said. "This game is brutal. You've got to play through things like this."