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Bengals players dealing with illness as they prepare for Steelers

The Cincinnati Bengals had a couple of players return to practice on Christmas, but a bug is still floating around PBS.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The flu bug is still making its rounds in Cincinnati.

Quarterback Andy Dalton was sent home on Wednesday while tight end Jermaine Gresham, safety Reggie Nelson and cornerback Terence Newman all sat out from Tuesday and/or Wednesday's practices with the flu.

Dalton and Gresham returned on Thursday but Nelson, Newman and now place-kicker Mike Nugent and cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris are out with flu-like conditions. We seriously doubt that this will impact Nelson's participation for Sunday's game, even if he misses Friday's sessions too. Lewis-Harris is the last cornerback on their depth chart (so limited impact) and Newman has also been dealing with a bum ankle. Cincinnati might be phasing Dre Kirkpatrick into the secondary rotation over Newman anyway.

Wide receiver A.J. Green, who missed Wednesday's session with a bruised bicep, was a limited participant on Thursday. Green suffered the injury, against the Denver Broncos, during Aqib Talib's pick-six early in the first quarter. Green is hopeful that he'll be able to play this Sunday. This is a significant step towards Green playing this weekend -- if he can play, he's going to play.

Defensive end Wallace Gilberry (hamstring), linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (hamstring), and wide receiver James Wright were also limited on Thursday. Gilberry suffered his hamstring injury against the Broncos on Monday and left the game momentarily. He didn't practice on Wednesday. Lamur, who was also limited on Wednesday, has been out since chasing around Johnny Manziel in the third quarter two weeks ago in Cleveland and James Wright has been out since Week 13 with a bum knee.

Rookie cornerback Darqueze Dennard was upgraded to a full participant with a shin injury.

The Steelers didn't practice on Thursday -- electing to practice on Tuesday to have Christmas off.

QB Andy Dalton (illness)
CB Darqueze Dennard (shin)
TE Jermaine Gresham (illness)

DE Wallace Gilberry (hamstring)
WR A.J. Green (biceps)
LB Emmanuel Lamur (hamstring)
WR James Wright (knee)

LB Chris Carter (knee)
CB Chris Lewis-Harris (illness)
S Reggie Nelson (illness)
CB Terence Newman (illness)
K Mike Nugent (illness)
OT Andrew Whitworth (veteran's)