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Thursday Bengals practice: Andre Smith remains in concussion protocol; Kevin Zeitler back at Bengals practice

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The Bengals got some good news on the injury front on Thursday as they prepare for the Texans, but a big omission on the offensive line is concerning.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals hit the field Thursday for their first official pre-Texans practice session.

As has thankfully been the case for much of this season, the Bengals are mostly healthy. However, starting right tackle Andre Smith still wasn't present at practice, indicating he's continuing to go through the NFL's concussion protocol and hasn't been cleared for practice. Smith suffered a concussion during the team's Week 8 win over the Steelers.

Smith missed the Week 9 matchup with the Browns while in the concussion protocol and has yet to appear at a practice since the initial injury. There are still two more days of practice before for the Bengals before they take on the Texans on Monday night.

If Smith is out Monday, that would likely mean veteran tackle Eric Winston starts in his place again after doing so against Cleveland. Winston also took over and played well against the Steelers on Cincinnati's final two drives with Smith sidelined in that game. Winston started three games last season (including the playoffs) when Smith suffered a torn triceps muscle.

Starting middle linebacker Rey Maualuga continued to practice on Thursday after he returned to practice Tuesday after missing last week against the Browns with a calf injury; he suffered the injury early in the Bengals' game against the Steelers in Week 8. With him out, Vincent Rey started in the middle while Vontaze Burfict also got more playing time. Maualuga is expected to play against the Texans.

Starting right guard Kevin Zeitler returned to the practice field after working on the rehab field Tuesday with what seems to be a foot injury. He suffered the injury toward the end of last week's game against the Browns and left the stadium in a walking boot. Seeing Zeitler back today is a good sign for his likeliness to play on Monday night. With Smith looking iffy to play, the Bengals can't afford to be down two starting linemen before Monday's game kicks off.

The Texans' defensive front features Jadeveon Clowney, Vince Wilfork and J.J. Watt, a tough group to face. If Zeitler were to miss this game, it would be interesting to see who replaces him. The latest Bengals depth chart has backup tackles Jake Fisher and Eric Winston listed as the second-string guards. Winston already looks like he may be filling in for Smith at right tackle, so it's possible Fisher would move to right guard for this game or T.J. Johnson, who filled in for Zeitler when he left the game against the Browns could be another option to replace Zeitler again, if needed.

Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth got his typical weekly veteran's rest day; since the Bengals had Wednesday off, his rest day came on Thursday instead of Wednesday.

Rookie offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi and third-year linebacker Sean Porter also continued to practice Thursday. Ogbuehi had his first NFL practice on Tuesday after coming off the NFI list. Porter came off the PUP list to practice on Tuesday as well. The Bengals still have more than two weeks before they must decide whether Ogbuehi and Porter will be activated, cut or placed on season-ending I.R.

According to ESPN's Coley Harvey, Ogbuehi took the majority of snaps at left tackle with Whitworth taking the day off.

Thursday's practice was reportedly a windy one.

Windy Cincy.

A video posted by Lindsay Patterson (@lindsaypatterson) on

Be sure to check back later for the full practice and participation report.