Thursday, October 10, 2013
Bengals still without DE Michael Johnson
By Coley Harvey
CINCINNATI -- The Michael Johnson Watch extended into its 11th straight day Thursday as the Cincinnati Bengals practiced once again without one of their key defensive ends.
When he will play again remains a mystery. It's one that won't be solved until the Bengals' training staff is confident he has been rid of all ailments related to a concussion that he apparently got during Cincinnati's Week 4 loss at Cleveland. In the visitor's locker room after that game, he informed trainers that he thought he had concussion-like symptoms. After a battery of tests, they determined he was right.
The concussion came two weeks after Johnson was forced out of the Bengals' Monday night win against the Steelers due to another head injury. After an evaluation during the game, doctors concluded that he could return. He finished that game and played the following week against Green Bay.
Johnson's appearance on the practice fields during the open portions of Wednesday and Thursday's practices were his first since since suffering the injury. That certainly is a promising sign, but with one practice to go before Sunday's conference game at Buffalo, the fact that he still hasn't taken a rep may not bode well for him being cleared this weekend.
If he has to be benched once again, expect Johnson to be relieved by Wallace Gilberry, the backup defensive end who performed admirably in last Sunday's win against the Patriots while replacing Johnson. Gilberry was credited with 1.5 sacks, including a half-stop on a fourth-quarter play that helped lead Cincinnati to the 13-6 victory.
Johnson was the only player out Thursday, as cornerback Brandon Ghee returned to practice after picking up a thigh injury after the Cleveland game. Fellow cornerback Leon Hall returned to limited participation Wednesday for the first time in three weeks. He was back working out Thursday, too. He remains optimistic about playing this weekend after his hamsting condition cleared.
For the first time all regular season, offensive guard Mike Pollak was cleared to participate in full practice participation. He had been limited earlier this week. Until last Friday, he hadn't practiced at all due to a knee injury.