The Bengals were back at practice Thursday hoping to get several key players back from injury.
On Wednesday, Tyler Eifert, Adam Jones and Leon Hall were among the most notable players sitting out. Those three again didn't practice on Thursday, putting their status for Sunday very much in question. Along with them, linebacker Vontaze Burfict also didn't practice on Thursday after practicing Wednesday. The official report later will clarify why he missed practice. Burfict did leave Sunday's Rams game with what was called a foot injury, but once he practiced on Wednesday, the assumption was that he was OK.
Eifert is dealing with a stinger suffered during Sunday's win over the Rams. It didn't look serious at the time, but after costing him two practices, it may be enough to keep him out against the Browns on Sunday. Eifert said this week stingers are something he's dealt with throughout his football career.
Jones is dealing with a foot injury he suffered during the Week 10 loss to the Texans. It led to him miss the team's Week 11 loss vs the Cardinals before he returned last weekend to play against the Rams. With Darqueze Dennard having been placed on I.R. last week, losing another starting corner at any point going forward will be devastating to Cincinnati's secondary, especially if it's Jones.
It doesn't help that cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris is dealing with a rib injury that sidelined him Wednesday and again today. Though he's usually the fifth or sixth-string corner, losing another DB right now is something the Bengals can ill-afford to have happen. If Lewis-Harris misses this week, that means fourth-round rookie Josh Shaw will receive more work on defense and special teams.
Leon Hall is also dealing with a back injury that's already cost him one game this season. It's unclear if this is the same back issue that led to Hall sitting out back in the Week 6 win over the Bills, or a new issue.
Safety George Iloka was unable to practice Thursday after getting a limited session in on Wednesday due to a groin injury. Friday's practice will likely determine his availability for Sunday.
Strongside linebacker Emmanuel Lamur was able to practice Thursday, though it's unknown currently if it was a full or partial session. Lamur left Sunday's game with an ankle injury and did not practice Wednesday. He was seen working on the rehab field on Wednesday, a good sign his injury isn't too serious.
If Lamur can't play this weekend in Cleveland, A.J. Hawk will get more snaps at SAM linebacker, and P.J. Dawson may finally be active on gameday again. Dawson, a third-round rookie, was active for the first six games while Vontaze Burfict was out, but has been inactive for all but one game since.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth was back at practice Thursday after getting his typical veteran's rest day off on Wednesday. With Jones sitting out, Mohamed Sanu received reps at punt returner, according to Jim Owczarski. Only Brandon Tate and Jones have taken in-game return duties, so hearing of Sanu getting some practice there is a bit of a changeup. It would be interesting to see Sanu's returning abilities in a game setting.
Be sure to check back later for the full practice and participation report for Thursday.