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Bengals at Chargers injury report: Vontaze Burfict and Dre Kirkpatrick out for Sunday

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Joe Mixon practiced and will play, but he won’t have his left tackle to run behind for the second straight week.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Bengals defense will travel to the West Coast less healthy than they were this time last week.

At linebacker, Vontaze Burfict will not play after missing all week of practice with a concussion he suffered against the Broncos. Burfict had been playin MIKE linebacker ahead of Hardy Nickerson, who filled in for Preston Brown when he was place on injured reserve a few weeks back. With Burfict now out, it would seem that Nickerson will be the starter once again at that spot.

Dre Kirkpatrick missed practice this week as well after injuring his ankle against the Broncos and playing through it. Kirkpatrick was seen with a boot on after the game and was never right enough practice ahead of Sunday’s game. The Bengals will likely do what they did against the Browns in Week 12 when Kirkpatrick missed that game as well and replace Kirkpatrick with Darqueze Dennard on the boundary.

Kirkpatrick’s injury weakens the cornerback depth further after Tony McRae suffered a serious concussion in that Week 12 matchup with the Browns. McRae is also out for this game as he’s yet to practice since. With Kirkpatrick and McRae both sidelined, this could pave the way for rookie Davontae Harris to make his career debut, presumably in a role on special teams.

On the offensive side of the ball, Cordy Glenn will be out for the second straight week with a back injury, and Clint Boling figures to be holding down his spot at left tackle once again. The Broncos’ pass rush had their way with the Bengals’ offensive line last week, and the Chargers will look to take advantage in a similar fashion.

Unlike pass protection, running the ball has not been a problem for the Bengals this season, but their reluctance to do so has limited their success. Luckily, Joe Mixon practiced today and will suit up for Sunday’s game. A winning formula against a team as good as the Chargers probably doesn’t involve letting Jeff Driskel throw the ball 26 more times than Mixon carrying it, we’ll see if offensive coordinator Bill Lazor adjusts accordingly.

At wide receiver, Josh Malone figures to be a game-time decision as he questionable. He went limited all week in his first time practicing since suffering a hamstring injury that shelved him for about a month. Odds are either him or Auden Tate will be active for this game, but not both.

As for the Chargers, Melvin Gordon is likely out after not practicing today. That means the Bengals will see a steady dose of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson.

Other than that, the Chargers are going to be as healthy of an NFL team as you’ll see in the final month of a regular season, whereas the Bengals are as banged up as you’ll find.

We’ll upload the final injury report when it’s up later.