The Cincinnati Bengals will likely have the 1-2 punch in their backfield this week that they envisioned during the offseason when they made Jeremy Hill their second-round pick. Hill was drafted to be the thunder to Giovani Bernard's lightning, but as Bernard has missed the past three games with a hip injury, it's been more thunder with Hill getting the bulk of the carries.
However, Gio was once again practicing Thursday after returning to the field on Wednesday. The expectation is that he'll be back this week against Houston, and while Hill will likely get more touches, Bernard is a different kind of weapon that can make this backfield one of the NFL's best.
As for Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict, he has yet to return to practice following a Week 9 knee scope. He wasn't on the field on Wednesday or Thursday, and it's looking like he won't be on the field Sunday against the Texans.
Starting cornerback Terence Newman was also absent Thursday after missing Wednesday as well. He missed Week 11 while dealing with a knee injury, and it looks like that could be the case again this week. That will mean more playing time for rookie Darqueze Dennard and special-teams ace Dre Kirkpatrick.
Also missing Bengals practice Thursday were offensive lineman Mike Pollak and Andrew Whitworth, though it's believed both were getting a rest day. Defensive end Wallace Gilberry was back Thursday after missing Wednesday, so it looks like he'll be good to go on Sunday.