The Bengals escaped frigid temperatures Thursday as they held practice inside the University of Cincinnati practice bubble.
Obligatory #Bengals #bubble photo pic.twitter.com/qC4ssnU2WO— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) December 15, 2016
There, All-Pro receiver A.J. Green was once again able to practice. He returned Wednesday for a limited session after sitting out since Week 11. How much work he does the rest of the week will determine if he plays Sunday against the Steelers.
#Bengals prepping for bubble practice. A.J. back for more work. Haven't seen Gilberry or Wright, who missed Wed. pic.twitter.com/OnTyPzk97t— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) December 15, 2016
If Green is limited again, it’s hard to see him playing. The coaches probably want him to get at least one full practice in before he returns from a three-week layoff to play in a game. That’s why Bengals fans should remain cautiously optimistic about Green’s impending return.
Elsewhere, Clint Boling is nursing a shoulder injury that had him limited Wednesday, but it looks like he was able to practice fully on Thursday. He took a big hit during the Bengals’ missed extra point in Sunday’s win over Cleveland that had him a bit gimpy, but he finished the game.
Margus Hunt was not present, but it sounds like that’s because great news is on the way:
Margus Hunt is not present yet either, but he and his wife are expecting. WR James Wright (knee) is back on the practice field. #Bengals— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) December 15, 2016
His wife posted this on Instagram 10 days ago, noting that there were “10 more days” until she and Margus would become parents.
Speaking of great news, seeing James Wright back at practice is great to see after he suffered an injury on his surgically-repaired knee in Week 13.
Wright is back. #Bengals pic.twitter.com/X1SBI7pg1L— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) December 15, 2016
It looks like it was nothing serious though if he’s already back practicing. The last thing you want to see is Wright suffer another major knee injury, which would be career-threatening after the two surgeries he’s gone through thus far.
Looks like DL Hunt and Gilberry only guys out— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) December 15, 2016
Wallace Gilberry was present without a helmet Thursday. Gilberry got some work on the rehab field Wednesday as he battles through a calf injury. His absence is allowing younger guys like DeShawn Williams and Will Clarke to play more.
Derron Smith and C.J. Uzomah were both limited Wednesday after not practicing for much of the last three weeks. Smith has a thigh injury, while Uzomah is dealing with a calf injury. How much work they get in on Thursday will go a long way in deciding their status for Sunday. They were both participating, in some fashion, in practice.
Be sure to check back later for the full Thursday practice and participation report for both the Bengals and Steelers.