CINCINNATI -- Injured Bengals left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth returned to practice Thursday for the first time since reaggravating a knee that was surgically repaired early in the offseason.
The Pro Bowl lineman said Wednesday that he was still listening to doctors and trying to take his return slowly.
"When the doctor clears me, I'll be allowed to go," Whitworth said. "No matter how much I argue with him, he's going to have my best interest at heart. As soon as they give me the green light, I'll be out there."
At the time, he wasn't overly optimistic that he would play when the Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Monday Night Football." If he is unable to go, the Bengals should be in good hands, though. Backup Anthony Collins relieved Whitworth last Sunday and adequately protected quarterback Andy Dalton's blind side. The third-year signal-caller was sacked once, but it wasn't because of a missed assignment by Collins.
Earlier Thursday, coach Marvin Lewis acknowledged for the second time this week that there was a chance that Whitworth could play.
"He's partly, partly ... he's a lot like the weather out there today," Lewis said, laughing during a midday news conference. "There's some good and some bad."
While Whitworth was finally fully dressed and participating in a workout, outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict was limited in his practice activities. During the open portion of the session, Burfict was in full uniform, but was not participating in other drills the linebackers were going through.
Burfict was injured in the second half of last week's game when he took a helmet shot to his right knee at the end of an interception return. After getting evaluated by trainers, Burfict was helped to his feet and taken to the sideline. He returned to action on the next defensive series and later told reporters he was OK and expected to play Monday.
He repeated the same message Thursday morning.
"I'm fine. I'll be ready to go for Monday," Burfict said.