On the first official practice of the short week, the Bengals got good and bad news on key players battling injuries. The good news was rookie wide receiver John Ross being listed as a full participant on Monday. He got in two limited practices last week after missing Wednesday.
It’s hard to say if Ross plays this Thursday, but seeing him listed as full suggests it’s very possible. If nothing else, perhaps he’ll be a healthy scratch so the Bengals can make sure he’s up to speed when his debut comes later this season.
The bad news was starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick being listed as a DNP due to a foot injury. It’s unclear when the injury occurred, but it was enough for Kirkpatrick to have a walking boot on Monday.
Ironically, Kirkpatrick missed just one game last year, but it was the Thursday Night Football matchup with the Miami Dolphins. The Bengals need him to help slow down DeAndre Hopkins this time around.
Also getting DNPs were starting guard Trey Hopkins and defensive end Michael Johnson. Hopkins suffered a knee injury that could knock him out for awhile, while Johnson is dealing with a concussion. Don’t count on either playing Thursday.
Starting safety Shawn Williams was also listed as a full participant for Monday. The Bengals’ defense played well against the Ravens, but having Williams back in the middle of the field would be an added boost for a team that needs all the help it can get.
Backup tight end C.J. Uzomah was listed as a full participant. If he is healthy enough to play this week, the Bengals may waive Cethan Carter and attempt to sign him to the practice squad. The Bengals have to make space for Adam Jones to come off the suspension list and onto the 53-man roster.
As for the Texans, they conducted a walkthrough on Monday, so the following practice report is an estimation.
Houston could be down its top three tight ends this week. Stephen Anderson, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin all missed Monday’s session due to concussions. If all three are out, the Texans will probably use fullback Jay Prosch in more formations.
Houston could also go with a lot of three and four-receiver sets, but that requires a healthy group of receivers. Will Fuller and Bruce Ellington both did not practice Monday, so the Texans could be down to no tight ends and just three or four healthy receivers.
On defense, All-Pro defensive lineman was limited with a finger injury that is worse than it sounds. We probably should expect him to play Thursday. Starting linebacker Brian Cushing did not practice due to a concussion and looks very iffy for Thursday. That’s also the case with starting cornerback Kevin Johnson, who is battling a knee injury.