When the Bengals took the field at Paul Brown Stadium Friday morning for the last workout before Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Houston, it was the healthiest they've been since early in the season.
Only Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict (knee) and backup right end Margus Hunt (ankle) were ruled out of the game when they were the only players on the active roster not practicing. Everyone else is probable after going full in practice, including starting running back Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder), starting right tackle Andre Smith (ankle) and starting cornerback Terence Newman (knee).
For the Texans, running back Arian Foster (groin) didn't work for the second straight day after he missed last week's win in Cleveland and than man who is second in the NFL in yards per game is questionable.
Neither Burfict nor Hunt surfaced on the field for rehab early in the practice, but the Bengals are hoping to get Burfict back for next week's game in Tampa. Head coach Marvin Lewis would only say Burfict is "doing well." But he also said the same thing about tight end Tyler Eifert and said he's "progressing," with the chance to come back before the end of the season. Eifert (elbow) is eligible to come off injured reserve-recall at any point.
The Bengals played the last three games without Bernard, the last two without Smith and Newman missed last week's 27-10 victory in New Orleans. Newman returned to full Friday after being limited Thursday while Bernard went full the last two days and Smith went full all week.
Here's what one seven-man inactive list could look like on Sunday: Burfict, Hunt, cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, offensive lineman T.J. Johnson, wide receiver Greg Little, defensive tackle Devon Still, running back Rex Burkhead (despite his two big catches last week).
QUICK HITS: Mount St. Joseph College basketball player Lauren Hill presented Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still with her No. 22 jersey at PBS on Thursday. Hill's battle with brain cancer has coincided with Still's four-year-old daughter undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for a cancerous tumor removed in September and both have become national symbols of courage and hope. Still said before practice he planned to get the jersey framed and put it in a room he has set aside for all the presents he plans to give Leah…
If Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey didn't know his alma mater of Duke lost to North Carolina, 45-20, Wednesday night, he did when he arrived at work Thursday. Former Tar Heel Giovani Bernard stocked Rey's locker with plenty of UC garb. And even though there was no bet, Bernard wasn't happy Rey had yet to don any of the clothing for the morning meetings.
"It's just accepted," Bernard said. "If you're on this team and your team loses to another guy's team, you have to wear it. It's cold, so I gave him plenty of options. I gave him a sweatshirt, a T-Shirt," and a jacket.