CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 2: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals hauls in a touchdown pass against George Wilson #87 of the Buffalo Bills during their games on October 2, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Bills 23-20. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Bengals first-round pick from 2010, tight end Jermaine Gresham, is one of the more talented players of his position in the NFL. He's been a good outlet for rookie quarterback Andy Dalton this season and he's been a mismatch from hell in the red zone. Defenses have had a tough time guarding, especially in the red zone, him because he's too fast for linebackers and he's too big for defensive backs.
Gresham was a last-minute scratch before the Seahawks game because of a tweaked hamstring before the game. He didn't practice the next week leading up to the Titans game due to the same injury and ended up not playing in that game either. Fortunately the Bengals won both games, but fans still looked forward to Gresham's return.
Gresham returned to practice on Wednesday, though he was limited, but on Thursday, he sat out of practice again. His status for the Steelers game is now up in the air. While nothing is certain about Gresham's status for Sunday's game, the fact that he had to sit out on Thursday is a foreboding sign.
At the same time, Donald Lee, who stepped up in the Tennessee game catching three passes for 49 yards in Gresham's absence, hasn't practiced yet this week either and is wearing a protective boot on his foot. His status, like Gresham's, is up in the air and while it's not certain that Lee won't play, not practicing is a bad sign.
That would leave Colin Cochart, who has exactly two catches, one of them a touchdown catch, in his career so far as a professional tight end. Against the Steelers, who likely have the best defense that the Bengals have faced so far this season, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will need his tight ends as Pittsburgh is likely to send a large amount of pressure his way. This is arguably the most important game of the Bengals season so far and it's worrisome that neither Gresham nor Lee are practicing on Thursday.
We'll know tomorrow, but for right now, brace yourself for some bad news.