As has been the case every week, the first practice saw a few key Bengals veterans sitting out, the most notable of which being Andrew Whitworth. The starting left tackle received his typical veteran's rest day off, and he'll need every bit of rest he can get before Sunday's matchup with a star-studded Rams defensive line.
Also getting the day off Wednesday was veteran corner Leon Hall. He typically gets either a limited of full practice session off on Wednesdays. Hall will also be needed on Sunday with the secondary banged up and possibly missing a key starter again.
That starter would be Adam Jones, who missed last week's game with a foot injury and was not practicing Wednesday, though he was on the field stretching to open up practice. Jones missed every practice session last week before being listed as doubtful to play on the final injury report. Jones still has two opportunities to get back on the field for practice tomorrow and Friday. The good news is, the Rams have one of the worst passing offenses of any NFL team, so the Bengals may be able to survive another week without Jones.
Making his return to practice was defensive tackle Pat Sims. He missed last week with a knee injury, and having him back this week against a run-heavy Rams offense will be a nice plus for Cincinnati. Sims is better at stuffing the middle and allowing his linebackers to make tackles than Brandon Thompson, who is a slightly better pass-rusher. Thompson was active and played last week against the Cardinals.
Also practicing Wednesday was starting safety Reggie Nelson, who left Sunday's game temporarily to be tested for a concussion, though he eventually returned and finished the game. It looks like he'll be fine for this Sunday.
Nelson's backup, Shawn Williams, was also able to practice Wednesday after leaving Sunday's game with an ankle injury. Because both he and Nelson were sidelined for part of Sunday's game, rookie safety Derron Smith was forced into action. It was the first time the sixth-round rookie saw significant snaps this season, and he held up well even though there weren't any plays that really came his pay. Smith ideally won't have to play as much going forward with both Nelson and Williams playing well this season.
It's worth noting that there wasn't any word today on the status of cornerback Darqueze Dennard, who is expected to be placed on season-ending I.R. due to a shoulder injury that will require surgery. However, Dennard is still on the team's 53-man roster and hasn't been placed on I.R. yet. An announcement should be coming sometime in the next few days about Dennard. Rookie offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi is expected to fill Dennard's roster spot.
Be sure to check back later for a full injury report with player participation information.