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Bengals C Kyle Cook Inching Closer To First Practice

Cincinnati Bengals center Kyle Cook has a date in mind for his eventual return to practice, which is a significant step getting him back in the games.

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Cincinnati Bengals starting center Kyle Cook -- the first of three starting centers dating back to the preseason this year -- suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Green Bay Packers during preseason game No. 3 and has been out since. If not for the league's decision to revise the rules on Injured Reserve, allowing one player to return later during the season, then Kyle Cook's season would have already reached its conclusion.

Instead he's still in Cincinnati, working out on the side while gearing up for his first practice, which Kevin Kelly with the Cincinnati Enquirer writes, could be soon:

"I know there’s a date set and in mind," the fifth-year center said. "As long as everything goes well, I’ll be back by that date."

Cook said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss the specific date but did say the ankle is, "pretty much back to what it was."

"Now it’s just getting into that football shape to run and really get into things again," he said. "I think I’m pretty close, obviously. But this isn’t the preseason. I can’t just come in and play a quarter or play a half. I want to make sure I’m in the best shape I can be at this point because if I get the chance to be out there with my teammates I don’t want to let them down."

Jeff Faine, Cook's initial replacement, has scored horribly (-13.0 overall, -11.0 run block) at Pro Football Focus, graded as the league's worst center. Eventually he was set aside for rookie Trevor Robinson, who has graded far more favorably with a positive run block and pass score.

That being said you better believe that you know who will be starting at center when Cook makes his return.