The Cincinnati Bengals were back on the practice field Thursday, preparing for the big Monday Night Football showdown against the Buffalo Bills. The first practice of the week typically falls on Wednesday, but with the game on Monday, players got an extra day of rest before getting back to work.
The Bengals injury report features some very promising news. Defensive end Sam Hubbard, who missed last week’s contest with a calf injury, returned to practice on a limited basis. If Hubbard is able to return Monday, the Bengals will have dodged the proverbial bullet with their edge rushers, with Trey Hendrickson playing through a broken wrist.
Also in positive news, tight end Hayden Hurst was a full participant in practice. Hurst was thought to return last week against the New England Patriots, but the coaches opted to give him the extra nine days rest before Buffalo came to town. Hurst’s return would set the Bengals up with their fullest complement of weapons since their bye week.
The only player listed as a non-participant on the list was offensive tackle La’el Collins. Initial reports suggested Collins would be out for the season with a knee injury, but head coach Zac Taylor has told the media they are still gathering information on the severity of the injury. Taylor added that he was “not optimistic,” but the fact that Collins hasn’t landed on injured reserve shows the team may still be holding out hope.
For Buffalo, star wide receiver Stefon Diggs missed practice with an illness. This comes one day after Diggs tweeted about his disdain for cooking for himself, so Twitter has (jokingly?) speculated that he may be dealing with food poisoning. Diggs is still expected to be prepared to suit up Monday Night.
Quarterback Josh Allen (elbow) popped up on the report, but he has been playing through throwing elbow soreness for many weeks, so there isn’t much to watch for there. Prepare to see Allen under center with the lights come on.
Perhaps the most significant name on the list is safety Jordan Poyer. Poyer missed time this season with an elbow injury and now appears to be dealing with a knee issue. Buffalo is undefeated in games where Poyer records an interception.
As the Bengals’ receivers all appear healthy, Poyer potentially being unable to go could potentially have a big impact on the game.