Updated: 3 p.m.
For the first time in recent memory, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis held a Friday practice on grass instead of the FieldTurf in Paul Brown Stadium as his team prepares for Sunday's game at Pittsburgh's beleaguered Heinz Field.
Joining the workout were right tackle Willie Anderson (knee) and wide receiver Chad Johnson (knee) after taking Thursday off. But Marvin Lewis said after practice that Anderson won't start Sunday and he was later ruled out as he tries to resume playing some time this season.
All other Bengals are probable after practicing full Friday.
But the Steelers aren't as healthy. Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu (knee) practiced lightly but not with the first team and figures to be a scratch. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes (ankle) didn't work and left tackle Marvel Smith (back) wasn't on the field. Holmes has been declared out and Polamalu and Smith are doubtful
With Smith out, the Bengals appear to get an advantage in the pass rush as Max Starks, usually a right tackle, now has to block Justin Smith at left.
Anderson, a four-time Pro Bowler, hasn't played in five straight games after injuring his knee in Seattle Sept. 23 and had hoped for a return against the Steelers. He returned to practice last Friday and this Wednesday, but it looks like he needs more time.
"Will is trying to do everything he can to have an opportunity to play somewhere the rest of this season," Lewis said. "Obviously he has to get back to practicing football before he can play football, so he's making those attempts as well as he can do. As long as he continues to progress physically, hopefully he'll have an opportunity before the year is out."
With the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio, calling for rain in Pittsburgh on Sunday that will change to snow after midnight, the Bengals have to anticipate the sloppy conditions that marred the Steelers' 3-0 victory over Miami Monday night. Steelers officials are maintaining the field will be in good shape with improvements to the tarpaulin, which must cover the field up until an hour before the game, and not having games on the grass field leading up to Sunday night's NBC telecast. On Friday and Saturday, Heinz hosted five prep and college games.
Lewis said he likes to work on grass on Fridays if the club is playing a grass game and if the weather is good, and both factors were in place. Equipment manager Rob "Rex" Recker had expected a shipment of 200 one-inch cleats so the players had time to toy with their shoes.
"Guys were wearing shoes they don't have to wear very often," Lewis said. "Some of the guys, the skill guys particularly, think different kind of cleats feel different on them."
In order to get his point across to his players about making sure they have the right shoes, Lewis directed some extra water on the field both Thursday and Friday.