Tight end Tyler Eifert (back) has been held back from practice for the third straight week. His replacements, Tyler Kroft (neck/knee) and C.J. Uzomah (knee) were sidelined on Wednesday, presenting a problem for the Cincinnati Bengals.
After practice on Thursday, however, as both Kroft and Uzomah fully participated.
Kroft, as Eifert’s replacement, stepped up in a big way against the Cleveland Browns, after leading the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Replacing the monster target that is Eifert will be key against a Buffalo Bills defense who held the Atlanta Falcons to 17 points on Sunday.
H-back Ryan Hewitt (knee) was also a non-participant in practice on Thursday, and is most likely out for this week’s clash against the Bills. This makes health of both Kroft and Uzomah crucial, as the Bengals will need help blocking for a struggling run game. Hewitt’s injury might even pave the way for tight end/h-back Cethan Carter to make an impact.
Andrew Billings (shin) did not practice on Wednesday, but was a full participant on Thursday. A healthy defensive line will be a huge help for the Bengals, and Billings will provide depth to keep the front four strong all four quarters.
Starting cornerbacks, Adam Jones (hip) and Dre Kirkpatrick (shoulder), were limited on Wednesday but were full participants on Thursday. Even though the young corners were getting more reps against the Browns, the veteran leadership out of the two established starters will be valuable for a team that is desperate to scrape wins together.
Offensive linemen Trey Hopkins (neck) and T.J. Johnson (knee) continue to fully participate in practice. This is great news for the Bengals shaky offensive line, who has made all sorts of personnel adjustments. Hopkins was injured in his first start against the Ravens and ceded the remaining starts this year to Johnson. As bad as the line has been, it will need one of its key starters back.
Speaking of offensive line starters, right tackle Jake Fisher (back) was limited on Thursday after having no previous injury designation.
Rookie wide receiver John Ross (knee) did not practice, and looks like he will not play for some time.
As far as the opposition goes, the Bills saw four players become full participants after being limited on Wednesday. Key player running back LeSean McCoy (wrist) was a full participant and star safety Micah Hyde was upgraded to limited practice. Other important players for the Bills, tight end Charles Clay (not injury related), linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (rest) and fullback Mike Tolbert (thumb) were not listed in the injury report on Thursday.