Bengals could be thin at receiver Sunday


CINCINNATI -- The harsh reality the Cincinnati Bengals were trying to avoid all week has started looking like it will come to fruition.

With three of their receivers listed on Friday's injury report, the Bengals seem to be entering Sunday's wild-card round playoff game at Indianapolis remarkably thin at the position.

Dane Sanzenbacher already was declared out earlier this week after being placed on the season-ending injured reserve. On Friday, rookie James Wright, who has missed the past four games with knee issues, was tabbed as out, too.

The biggest question mark at the position concerns Pro Bowler A.J. Green, who didn't practice Friday morning after dressing Thursday and participating under a limited designation that day. He hit the latest injury report as doubtful to play this weekend.

If Green gets sidelined, joining Wright and Sanzenbacher, Cincinnati will be down at receiver to just Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Tate, Greg Little and Cobi Hamilton, who was signed off the practice squad Wednesday to replace Sanzenbacher.

It isn't the most intimidating group of pass-catchers for a team to carry into the playoffs, particularly considering said team hasn't won a postseason game since January 1991.

"I can't invent anybody," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We've got the guys we have."

Little has been inactive the past two weeks, while Tate was viewed at times this year as the No. 4 receiver in the Bengals' rotation.

One has to imagine the Bengals will try to make up for their lack of options at receiver by turning to tight end Jermaine Gresham and running backs Giovani Bernard and Rex Burkhead. Both backs have been placed into the slot at times this season, including Sunday night at Pittsburgh. On Burkhead's only snap in the slot, Bernard ran a drag across the line of scrimmage from his own slot position to catch a short pass from quarterback Andy Dalton that resulted in a 17-yard touchdown.

As for Gresham, the problem with trying to turn to him is that he might not play Sunday, either. He was officially listed as questionable with a back injury that kept him out of every practice but Friday's. He was limited, as he stiffly ran routes during the open portion of the practice.

Here's the Bengals' full Round 1 injury report:


WR Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion -- placed on injured reserve Wednesday)

WR James Wright (knee)


WR A.J. Green (concussion)


TE Jermaine Gresham (back)

RB Cedric Peerman (concussion)