The Bengals were once again without linebacker Vontaze Burfict and defensive end Margus Hunt for practice on Thursday. It's safe to assume neither will play this week vs. the Steelers, and at this point, Burfict looks like a longshot to even play against the Browns in Week 15.
Cincinnati's defense has adjusted well to life without Burfict, a Pro Bowl selection last year, as well as Hunt, who has been a decent rotational defensive lineman. However, with two matchups against a prolific Steelers offense, not to mention the Broncos on Monday Night Football in Week 16, now is the time when the Bengals are really going to start feeling the losses of those two more.
Defensive tackle Domata Peko was also held out Thursday after allegedly hyperextending his elbow on Sunday. I say "allegedly" because it's clear once again the Bengals can't be trusted with what they say about injuries and potential returns. It does look safe to say Peko is questionable at best to play Sunday after missing two straight days of practice.
Back at practice Thursday was cornerback Adam Jones, who is now off the NFL's concussion protocol. Wide receiver James Wright and tight end Tyler Eifert were also held out. Don't expect Eifert to return anytime soon either. Wright is dealing with a knee injury that caused him to miss Wednesday as well, so he's looking less likely to play vs. the Steelers coming off the best game of his rookie season.
Andrew Whitworth also got a veteran's rest day on Thursday.