Several key players were not on the practice field Thursday, the most notable of which was Tyler Eifert. The Pro Bowl tight end was not even present for the second straight practice, another sign he will not play Sunday in Dallas. Though, Marvin Lewis is leaving the option open, or so he says.
Eifert suffered a back injury on Monday at practice, though it is believed to not be serious he’s now day-to-day.
Also sitting out on Thursday was starting right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. The second-year lineman was not on the injury report Wednesday, so not seeing him on Thursday suggests something happened during Wednesday's session.
After suffering a toe injury in Week 1 of the preseason, Ogbuehi has not been on the injury report since the season began. He has played at right tackle in all four games in his first year as a starter. Ogbuehi missed most of his rookie year while recovering from a torn ACL, and then missed much of camp and three weeks of the preseason games this year before returning in Week 1.
So in terms of live game reps, Ogbuehi might as well be a rookie. That's been evident with his on-field struggles thus far, and another injury is the last thing he needs right now.
Making matters worse is Ogbuehi's immediate backup, Jake Fisher, was also not able to practice Thursday. Fisher is dealing with a back injury that limited him on Wednesday, so either it got worse, or the team is giving him the day off to make sure it heals properly.
If both Fisher and Ogbuehi are out Sunday, veteran lineman Eric Winston figures to be the starting right tackle. He has started several games there since joining the team in 2014.
Elsewhere, wide receiver James Wright was given what looks like a rest day in order to keep managing his surgically-repaired knee. Wright has been given at least one day off in each week of the season (with the exception of last week when the Bengals had a short week), so this is probably nothing to worry about in terms of his Week 5 availability. Though, Wright was on the injury report yesterday with a hamstring injury.
In other news, it looks like cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick got a special ride to practice today with Bengals owner Mike Brown.
Be sure to check back later for the full practice and participation report.