The Cincinnati Bengals enjoyed a fairly injury-free first three quarters of the season, but entering the final stretch, things are beginning to change.
Injuries from prior to Week 13
The most notable injury Cincy is dealing with is tight end Tyler Eifert. Despite missing Week 13 with a stinger, Eifert still leads the NFL with 12 touchdowns, one more than Allen Robinson's 11 scoring grabs and three more than Devonta Freeman's nine rushing scores. All indications were following Week 12 when Eifert suffered the injury were that it wasn't serious, so we should be cautiously optimistic he plays this week.
The second-most notable injury the Bengals are dealing with is the back injury plaguing cornerback Leon Hall. It's been nagging him much of the year and led to him sitting out Week 6 in a win at Buffalo and this past week in Cleveland. Hall didn't practice last Wednesday or Thursday before getting in a limited session on Friday. He was listed as questionable to play Sunday, so it's hopeful he'll play this week.
Cornerback Adam Jones continues to deal with a foot injury suffered in Week 10 that caused him to miss Week 11, but, he has played in the past two games. Jones missed practice last Wednesday and Thursday before getting in a limited session on Friday and a questionable status for Sunday. He too should play this week barring a setback in practice.
Perhaps the most questionable player to play this Sunday is safety George Iloka. He practiced in a limited role last Wednesday before not participating on Thursday or Friday while dealing with a groin injury. He was listed as questionable Sunday before not playing, and it will be interesting to see how much he practices this week. Practices begin on Wednesday for the Bengals vs Steelers matchup.
Injuries from Week 14
The only currently known injury the Bengals experienced in Week 14 was to rookie cornerback Josh Shaw. Shaw left the game in the first half after colliding with Bengals safety Shawn Williams. Shaw had a negative MRI and X-ray, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer and has said, "all is good."
"I was stuck," Shaw said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I knew exactly what was going on, but I couldn’t unlock my back, if that makes sense... Just real sore right now."
If Hall and Iloka return for Week 14's matchup with the Steelers, it's unlikely Shaw would get much (if any) playing time whether or not he's healthy.
As for the Steelers, they too are dealing with a host of nagging injuries to key guys following their 45-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts. The most notable injury out of that game is to cornerback William Gay, who is now in the NFL's concussion after leaving in the second half. If he misses this week, Ross Cockrell, Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin will be the top three corners.
Tight end Heath Miller missed Sunday's game while dealing with a rib injury that held him out last Wednesday and Thursday while getting a limited session on Friday. He should be back this week, though rookie Jesse James did fine in his absence, catching three passes on five targets for 30 yards.
Backup linebacker Sean Spence also missed the Steelers vs Colts game while dealing with a hamstring injury. He's accounted for 34 tackles and one sack this season.
As for the Steelers who should play this time around after missing the Week 8 matchup, starting safety Will Allen should play after an ankle injury cost him the first game between the two teams. He's having a decent season with 56 tackles, one interception and two sacks.
Defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt also should play this week after missing the first matchup with a knee injury. Tuitt has been a key reason why Pittsburgh's defense has improved dramatically over the season. He's accounted for 37 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 10 games.
All in all, it looks like both teams will be fairly healthy this week in terms of guys on the 53-man roster.