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Bengals clear Trae Waynes, D’Ante Smith to practice

Waynes and Smith are set to practice starting this week.

NFL: SEP 30 Jaguars at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have designated cornerback Trae Waynes and guard D’Ante Smith to return from the Reserve/Injured list and clear them to practice starting today.

This begins a 21-day period when both players may practice with the team despite them not counting against the roster. They may be officially activated from I.R. at any point during the next three weeks.

Waynes and Smith were both placed on I.R. back in October between Weeks 5 and 6 of the regular season. Waynes had re-aggravated a hamstring injury in Week 5 against the Green Bay Packers that initially forced him to miss the first three games of the season. Smith injured his right knee during practice leading up to the team’s Week 6 game against the Detroit Lions.

Cincinnati recently became low on depth at cornerback and offensive line. They played without their starting right tackle, Riley Reiff, and center, Trey Hopkins, this past Sunday and saw one of their starting cornerbacks, Chidobe Awuzie, leave the game with a foot injury. The possibility of activating Waynes and Smith as early as this week can help make up for those lingering injuries.

If Awuzie is good to go by the time Waynes is activated, it’ll be interesting to see if Waynes gets his starting job back from an improved Eli Apple. Waynes is still being paid handsomely, but Apple has done enough of late to stay on the field.

Smith, on the other hand, may just resume his duties as a versatile reserve along the offensive line. The offense seems to have found an answer at right guard in Hakeem Adeniji, and that’s the spot where Smith was getting the most reps at.