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Tyler Eifert, Andy Dalton, miss Bengals Week 15 Wednesday practice; Brock Osweiler gets starting nod

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The Bengals were without five starters Wednesday as they prepare for the Broncos.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals hit the practice field Wednesday for their first day of preparation for Monday's matchup with the Denver Broncos.

Cincy is going with an uncommon Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday practice routine so the team can have Christmas off on Friday. That may be good news for several injured Bengals hoping they can get that extra day of rest and recovery on Friday and get a practice in on Saturday.

Among the most notable players dealing with an injury compromising their availability is Tyler Eifert. The Pro Bowl tight end's concussion caused him to miss last week's win over the San Francisco 49ers, and reports suggest he'll miss this week as well. To no surprise, he didn't practice Wednesday as he remains under the NFL's concussion policy.

The Bengals may also be without safety George Iloka again after he missed the Niners game due to a groin injury. The starting safety has missed two of the past three games due to a lingering groin injury. He too missed Wednesday's session.

Starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was a surprise non-participant in Wednesday's practice. He was on the final injury report last week with a knee injury because of a limited Thursday session, but was listed as probable on the final report and got in a full practice last Friday. It's unclear if this is a precautionary rest or this is something lingering and may affect his ability for Monday.

Fellow corner Leon Hall sat out Wednesday, though he's gotten in a limited session or received the first practice day off all season, so this isn't a major concern. If either he or Kirkpatrick were to miss Monday night, that would likely force fourth-round rookie Josh Shaw back into the starting lineup.

Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer noted that starting center Russell Bodine was limited during the open portion of practice with a finger injury. Since Bodine is practicing, this probably won't keep him out of Monday's game, but it is something to monitor going forward.

The good news is cornerback Adam Jones and receiver A.J. Green practiced Wednesday. Jones has been limited for much of the past month with a foot injury, but was able to play in Sunday's win over the Niners. Green is dealing with a back issue that caused him to miss almost half of Sunday's win. With the Bengals dealing with so many other injuries, it's imperative those two play in Denver on Monday night.

It's also worth noting that for the second week in a row, starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth practiced Wednesday instead of getting his normal veteran's rest day off. He's trying to get used to AJ McCarron being his quarterback and his guidance will be needed to help the second-year passer get accustomed to being a starter for a playoff team.

On Denver's side, the team announced that Brock Osweiler will be the starting quarterback this week as Peyton Manning recovers from a foot injury. This could be good news for the Bengals based on how poorly Osweiler has played as of late.

In the first half of last week's loss to the Steelers, Osweiler completed 14 of 18 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for another score. However, Osweiler completed just seven of 26 passes with an interception in the second half of the game, as they lost 34-27 in Pittsburgh.

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