But that might not be enough to get him back in the starting rotation. It appears he will be missing his fourth straight game after being listed as doubtful on the injury report following Cincinnati's final practice ahead of Sunday's playoff game against San Diego.
It was originally believed following his Week 14 injury against the Indianapolis Colts that Newman would only miss one to three weeks. After that third week passed seven days ago, he was expected to be back practicing this week. He didn't appear until Friday, continuing to to rehab from his MCL sprain Wednesday and Thursday.
Newman was one of 12 players on the injury report. The list included his backup, Dre Kirkpatrick, who practiced despite having an illness that kept him out Thursday. Since Newman's injury, Kirkpatrick appeared in the past three games. Although he has been beaten at some critical times, he also has come away with three key interceptions, including his game-icing 21-yard interception return for touchdown in last week's 34-17 win against the Ravens.
"It's just about being more focused this time of the year," Kirkpatrick said Friday. "I know what it takes to win championships. Just the intensity has to pick up. I'm not a leader, but I've got the intensity that I am a leader."
Before getting drafted in the first round last year, Kirkpatrick starred in the secondary at Alabama. The Crimson Tide won two BCS championships while Kirkpatrick was there. He was listed as probable on the injury report.
Tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert also made the injury report, marking the second straight week there will be doubt about their playing status. Both were declared inactive last week with respective hamstring and neck injuries. Gresham has practiced all week, despite being limited for part of it. Eifert returned Thursday after suffering a stinger in Cincinnati's win two weeks ago against Minnesota. Both were listed as questionable.
In addition to Kirkpatrick, receiver A.J. Green was listed as probable after dealing with a knee injury that caused him to miss Wednesday's practice. He returned Thursday and was full-go Friday when the Bengals dodged single-digit temperatures by practicing inside the University of Cincinnati's practice bubble.