The Bengals held their second pre-49ers practice Thursday and many of the players who missed Wednesday's practice sat out once again.
Andy Dalton continued to sit out due to his fractured thumb, and AJ McCarron continues to get his reps with the first-team offense. Dalton has already been ruled out for this Sunday in San Francisco, so McCarron's first NFL start will officially happening then.
It also looks like Cincinnati will be without star tight end Tyler Eifert this week after he left Sunday's loss with a concussion. He wasn't able to practice Wednesday and was out again Thursday as he remains under the NFL concussion protocol, which is is very hard to pass in one week.
In other words, don't be surprised if Eifert sits this week out. Backup tight end Tyler Kroft and h-back Ryan Hewitt would be in line for more targets if Eifert is in fact ruled out. Kroft and Hewitt filled in well with Eifert out against the Steelers.
Starting safety George Iloka also missed Thursday's practice after sitting out Wednesday as well. Iloka left Sunday's game with a groin injury that had been lingering for the previous two weeks. He was questionable to play in the game before re-aggravating the injury on Sunday. His chances this week are not looking good, but backup Shawn Williams has filled in nicely this season when Iloka has been out.
Starting boundary corner Adam Jones was able to practice for the second straight day while dealing with his lingering foot injury that caused him to be inactive against the Steelers. He's looking good to go Sunday against a 49ers offense that's among the worst passing units in the NFL.
Starting defensive end Michael Johnson returned to practice Thursday after getting Wednesday off due to back injury. He wasn't on the injury report last week but has dealt with a back injury at times this season. It almost caused him to miss the Week 11 loss a Arizona.
Starting slot corner Leon Hall was also back practicing Thursday after sitting out Wednesday. The veteran corner typically gets Wednesdays off or gets a limited session in, so it looks like he'll be good to go this Sunday.
Backup tackle Jake Fisher missed Thursday's practice after working on the rehab field Wednesday due to a concussion suffered in practice last week. Geoff Hobson is speculating that Fisher will join Eifert and Iloka as inactives against the 49ers.
Starting weakside linebacker Vontaze Burfict was not practicing Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Burfict was in and out of the lineup Sunday due to a neck injury, but was able to finish the game. Since it wasn't enough to actually take him out of the game, he should be able to play vs the 49ers, but it will be something to monitor since he didn't practice today. It's also worth noting Burfict has received the last three Thursdays as rest days as he works his way back from offseason knee surgery.
Starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth practiced Thursday after getting a rare Wednesday session in as well instead of getting his normal veteran's rest day off. Whitworth was on the injury report yesterday with a knee and was limited, but is doing his best to help McCarron get set for his first NFL start. The second-year quarterback will become the fourth starting quarterback Whitworth has protected in Cincinnati, joining the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Carson Palmer and Dalton. Hopefully, McCarron can perform at a similar level to that of his predecessors.
Be sure to check back later for the full Thursday practice and injury report.