However, it looks like we shouldn't expect starting right tackle Andre Smith to play Monday night. He was once again not present for practice as he continues to be in the NFL's concussion protocol. He suffered a concussion in Pittsburgh on November 1st, and it's now November 13th. Smith not having practiced once in 12 days is a bad sign for his availability Monday night.
It's also concerning going forward since concussions and their short and long-term effects have become a major topic in recent years, and it's now made coaches and players more hesitant to get concussed player back on the field. That's especially true of players with a history of concussions, like Smith. His most recent diagnosed concussion prior to this one was back in the 2014 preseason, and it ended up costing him nearly that entire preseason. Hopefully, Smith is able to return soon and regain his starting spot. In the meantime, expect Eric Winston to continue filling in at right tackle.
Another notable development comes with starting weakside linebacker Vontaze Burfict. After missing nearly a full year of football following knee issues and microfracture surgery, Burfict made his return to game action in Week 8 and played extensively against the Steelers and Browns in Week 9. There was a point in the Browns game in which Burfict came off the field and stretched his surgically-repaired knee on the sideline with trainers; he appeared to be in discomfort but returned to the game.
It now looks like whatever happened may be at least notable as he was a limited participant in Thursday's practice and was seen working out on the exercise bike to open Friday's session. It's unclear how much work he got in after the open session, so it will be interesting to see the final participation report and if he was limited or a full-go.
Burfict (knee), who was limited yesterday, out on the field early today warming up on the bike. #Bengals— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) November 13, 2015
Perhaps the biggest surprise of Friday was punter Kevin Huber not being present. It's unclear as to why he wasn't even on the sideline watching practice, so seeing the participation report later will hopefully clear that up. It's possible he's dealing with an illness and the Bengals opted to give him the day off in hopes it wouldn't spread around the team. It is that time of the year after all. If Huber were to miss a game, kicker Mike Nugent is the only player who could likely handle punting duties. The Bengals don't have a backup punter on the roster or practice squad.
Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth returned to practice after missing Thursday with his typical veteran's rest day off. Starting right guard Kevin Zeitler also continued to practice after missing Tuesday's session; he was limited on Thursday and we won't find out if he was a full go today until later in the afternoon. Starting slot corner Leon Hall also continued to practice after being limited Thursday to get some rest, like Whitworth. This has been typical for Hall and Whitworth each week. Starting middle linebacker Rey Maualuga also practiced on Friday as he has done every day this week. Maualuga missed last week's game against Cleveland with a calf injury suffered in the first quarter against the Steelers in Week 8.
Check back later for the full participation and practice report.