Marvin Lewis confirmed Monday that right tackle Stacy Andrews tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Sunday and that Dennis Roland will make his first NFL start in his place in the season finale against the Chiefs this Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
That would require reconstructive surgery, putting his availability and ability in question on the eve of his free agency with a rehab that may not be completed by the start of training camp. The Bengals had given Andrews the one-year franchise tag of $7.5 million in the hopes of reaching a long-term deal, but how a possible ACL injury would affect both of their mindsets remains to be seen, as well as other teams.
It's so early in the process that Lewis said "I have no idea" on how the Bengals approach the future with Andrews, but said he expected Andrews to confer with his representation as well as club doctors.
Lewis also said that quarterback Carson Palmer is going to practice on a limited basis this week for the first time since Oct. 3 and that how his elbow responds will go a long way in determining if he needs surgery. So far, Lewis says he doesn't. Palmer won't play Sunday, meaning the partial tear in his ulna collateral ligamernt cost him 12 of the 16 games.
Lewis indicated Palmer would work just against the defense in pass situations and would not be put into periods involving anything where "he would be contacted."
"The best we can simulate this week what a normal week would be like," Lewis said. "Without any kind of pain an issue, and then you feel pretty comfortable the injury continues to heal on its own and just let it continue."
Lewis said it contiues to look like no surgery is needed, but emphasized Palmer has to make the call.
"Carson has the feeling (in his elbow), we don't feel for him," Lewis said. "You don't feel for him and I certainly don't . He's got to be the one that knows, 'I've been able to do anything I can normally do without issue.' So far it's been great. We anticipte for it to continue this week ... I wish it was two weeks earlier."
And it doesn't like wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco is going to be back for the finale as he deals with the hamstring he injured Thursday in practice while running.
"It's not something I want to play with or rush," Ocho Cinco said.
The Ocho said he's never had a hamstring problem in a career in which he played in 113 straight games until he got sent home last month for insubordination the night before the Pittsburgh game. Sunday was the first time he was sidelined with an injury since he broke a clavicle in 2001 and missed four games.
He did say he won't have surgery on his dislocated shoulder in the offseason. He has been playing with it since he suffered the injury in a Aug. 17 preseason game. He was also hobbled early in training camp after he had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle to clean out bone spurs.
"I haven't had any problems until this year with my shoulder," The Ocho said. "The ankle was nothing. I chose to play on that for a couple of years. I came back from the shoulder thing in almost two weeks time, ready to go for the opener. A hamstring is not really something you want to play with. With it being a muscle you can't control when it's right and when it isn't, you have to give it some rest. There's really no reason to rush back at this time."
Asked if he was surprised that the Bengals won despite throwing just nine passes, he pointed to some other games played Sunday in snow and cold.
"It all depends on who we're playing," he said. "New England played in similar conditions and threw for 350. Same thing. It all depends on who you're playing."
Also Monday, the Bengals announced that Jim Blount, who has missed only two games as the voice of the Bengals press box, calls his last game Sunday. Blount, 73, has also served the club as a valued archivist of records.