Green was present for practice on Wednesday as he still is battling back from a hamstring injury that was threatening to end his season. It looks like Saturday’s clash in Houston will be his return game, but that will be largely determined by how much he practices this week.
A.J. Green was at practice again. We'll see if he's listed as a full participant later.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) December 21, 2016
Green was limited in all three sessions last week, and he probably needs at least one full session before the coaches let him play. How much Green works today could signal if Saturday is a done deal for him returning to action.
Not all news was good for the Bengals on Wednesday with several key starters sitting out. Clint Boling was among those not practicing. He’s been battling a shoulder injury that has him either limited or missing one practice per week. He didn’t appear to injure it further vs the Steelers in Week 15.
Also not present Wednesday was Vontaze Burfict, who appeared to suffer a head injury on Sunday, but was allowed back in the game. If it turns out he is in the NFL’s concussion protocol and the coaches still allowed him to play Sunday, it’s just the latest fire-able offense for Marvin Lewis.
It looks like Jeremy Hill is missing practice, though he did get in some side work on the rehab field.
Earlier in the season, Hill had been battling a shoulder and chest injury, but he’s been off the injury report for a number of weeks. Those injuries haven’t kept him out of a game yet, but it’s clearly affecting him when he is playing. It may also help explain his putrid 208 yards on 80 runs (2.6 avg.) over the last four weeks. Hill went down with an injury against the Steelers but did return to the game.
Wallace Gilberry was able to practice Wednesday after missing much of the past three weeks with a calf injury.
The Bengals need to get more from their pass rush, though they’re unlikely to get it from a hobbled 32-year-old run-stopper.
Two other surprise non-participants on Wednesday were Alex Erickson and Tyler Kroft.
Not practicing today for #Bengals: LB Burfict, OL Boling, TE Kroft, WR Erickson, RB Hill.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) December 21, 2016
It’s unclear what either player is dealing with to explain why they are missing practice. Erickson had a big game as a returner vs the Steelers on Sunday. Losing Erickson would be significant as he’s made a major impact on special teams. Kroft played sparingly as the backup tight end on Sunday. His only noted injury this year was a concussion against the Ravens in Week 12, but he returned to action in Week 13 against the Eagles.
It seems C.J. Uzomah practiced at least on a limited basis on Wednesday, after failing to play for the last few weeks with a calf injury. If Kroft is unable to play this week, the Bengals will certainly need Uzomah to be active for the first time since the Giants game back in Week 10.
Be sure to check back later this afternoon for the full Wednesday practice and participation report for Cincinnati and Houston.