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Thursday, January 2, 2014
Bevy of Bengals return from injuries

By Coley Harvey

CINCINNATI -- A bevy of previously injured Cincinnati Bengals, headlined by receiver A.J. Green, returned to practice Thursday as the team went through its second practice ahead of Sunday's first-round playoff game against San Diego.

Green missed Wednesday's session with a knee injury, and he was limited Thursday. During the open portion of the workout, he was seen running at a moderate speed through passing drills that called upon him to cut, pivot and turn. He appeared to show little effects of a possible knee injury.

Along with Green's return, tight end Tyler Eifert, defensive end Wallace Gilberry and offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth, Kyle Cook and Andre Smith came back to practice after being held completely out the day before. Gilberry suffered a concussion in last week's 34-17 win over Baltimore, and Whitworth, Cook and Smith picked up foot and ankle injuries in the game.

Cook's foot was so bad Monday that he was placed in a protective boot and on crutches out of an abundance of precaution. He was back to walking under his own power Wednesday, and practiced in a limited capacity Thursday.

Eifert was back at practice for the first time in two weeks. A neck injury brought on by the after effects of a stinger he picked up in the Bengals' Week 16 win over Minnesota had him sidelined. He and fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham were declared inactive for last week's game against the Ravens, forcing Cincinnati to start its third-string tight end and move back there a player who had played H-back much of the year.

That third-string player, Alex Smith, ended up dislocating a wrist in the game and needed to be placed on injured reserve.

Gresham returned to practice earlier this week.

While each of those players returned to action, cornerback Terence Newman and offensive tackle Anthony Collins missed another practice. Collins is coming off an ankle injury that he received last week against the Ravens. Newman hasn't practiced in about a month, after suffering an MCL sprain in the Bengals' Week 14 win over Indianapolis. He was expected to return this week. His absence Thursday appeared to be a sign that he likely won't be suiting up this weekend.

He still has a chance to practice Friday and to play, but without going Wednesday and Thursday, it becomes harder for him to ensure his conditioning is at its peak coming off the layoff. In case he isn't able to play, Newman would be replaced yet again by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, as long as Kirkpatrick is healthy. He was downgraded to not practicing after being listed on the latest injury report with an illness. Against the Ravens, Kirkpatrick had two interceptions, including the game-icing pick-off that was returned for a touchdown.

Here is the full Bengals injury report from Thursday:

Did Not Practice
OT Anthony Collins (ankle)
CB Terence Newman (knee)
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (illness)

Limited Practice Participation
C Kyle Cook (foot)
CB Chris Crocker (knee)
TE Tyler Eifert (neck)
DE Wallace Gilberry (concussion)
WR A.J. Green (knee)
TE Jermaine Gresham (hamsting)
LB Vincent Rey (ankle)
OT Andre Smith (ankle)
OL Andrew Whitworth (ankle)