Cincinnati Bengals: 2013 NFL Week 17 Injury Wire

CINCINNATI -- Linebacker Vontaze Burfict missed his second practice of the week as the Cincinnati Bengals returned to action Thursday afternoon. They were back after having taken Wednesday off in observance of the Christmas holiday.

The second-year player was listed as having not participated in the practice as he continues to recover from symptoms of a concussion. He also didn't participate in Tuesday's workout after originally suffering a head injury late in Sunday's blowout of the Minnesota Vikings. He was one of three players who were put under concussion protocol Monday morning, one week after another set of three went through post-concussion evaluations.

Along with Burfict, tight end Alex Smith and practice squad cornerback Onterio McCalebb were placed under the protocol. Unlike Burfict, Smith returned to practice Thursday.

It appeared Burfict was going to be limited Thursday when he was out in uniform and walking through some low-speed drills during the portion of practice that is open to media. He wasn't participating in most exercises, but he was still present. Typically, injured players in uniform are at least later listed as limited in that particular practice.

While Smith came back, question marks still remain at tight end, where both Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham remained sidelined due to their respective neck and hamstring injuries. Gresham was limited through parts of Tuesday's practice, and downgraded to not having practiced at all Thursday. Eifert was forced from last Sunday's game due to a stinger that apparently still is giving him discomfort. If the Bengals were to play without he and Gresham, Alex Smith would be the primary option at the position, with H-back Orson Charles likely filling any secondary obligations. Before getting moved to the backfield this season, Charles played tight end.

Cornerback Terence Newman also missed Thursday's practice as he continues rehabbing from a knee injury he picked up in the Bengals' Week 14 win over the Colts. The MCL sprain was expected to keep him out one to three weeks. This is that third week. At this point, since he hasn't practiced since before he suffered the injury, it seems Newman likely will be held out until the Bengals' first playoff game. Cincinnati will either host a Wild Card round game next weekend, or have a bye before hosting a Divisional round game in two weeks. A Bengals win Sunday, combined with a Patriots loss to the Bills would give Cincinnati the AFC's No. 2 playoff seeding. The top two seeds have the first week of the postseason off.

Here is the full Thursday injury report, accompanied below by the Tuesday injury report which was released Wednesday morning:

Did Not Practice
TE Tyler Eifert (neck - stinger)
LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion)
CB Terence Newman (knee)
DT Devon Still (back)
TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring)

Limited Practice Participation
TE Alex Smith (concussion)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle)
LB Vincent Rey (ankle)
OT Andre Smith (ankle)

Full Practice Participation
LB James Harrison (concussion)

Tuesday's injury report (released Wednesday):
Did Not Practice
LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion)
TE Tyler Eifert (neck - stinger)
CB Terence Newman (knee)
TE Alex Smith (concussion)
DT Devon Still (back)

Limited Practice Participation
TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle)
LB Vincent Rey (ankle)
OT Andre Smith (ankle)

Full Practice Participation
LB James Harrison (concussion)
CINCINNATI -- A day after earning another home blowout victory and receiving their third straight postseason berth, the Cincinnati Bengals placed three players under concussion protocol Monday, including linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

The second-year player was escorted back to the locker room early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Minnesota Vikings with a head injury. It wasn't clear exactly when the injury occurred, but Burfict did deliver a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the third quarter on one of his final plays of the game.

During the first-down play, Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel was hit by Burfict as he dropped into a slide at the end of a scramble. After his helmet made contact with Cassel's, Burfict was slapped with a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. It added to the lengthy list of infractions Burfict has incurred this season. Entering the game, he was tied for third in the league with 11 penalties, eight of which were personal fouls. No other player in the league had been flagged by that point for as many personal fouls as he had.

Burfict also enters Week 17 leading the NFL in tackles with 157. That figure ranks as the most in recorded Bengals history. Since 1976, only one Bengal had more than 150 tackles in a single season. Tim Krumrie had 151 in 1988.

Along with Burfict, tight end Alex Smith and practice squad cornerback Onterio McCalebb were placed under concussion protocol. McCalebb presumably was injured during the Bengals' final practice last week.

There weren't any other injury updates issued by the Bengals on Monday, even though two others suffered injuries in Sunday's game. Right offensive tackle Andre Smith left in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle. Although he seemed confident after the game that he would be fine by this coming weekend, his official injury status remains uncertain. The status of tight end Tyler Eifert, who was run from the contest with a stinger, remains uncertain, as well.

This is the second straight week in which the Bengals have had three players under concussion protocol. Last week, linebacker James Harrison, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth spent time under it.

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