Until starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick missed Thursday's practice with groin and back issues, the Bengals' injury picture had brightened considerably:
- As wide receiver A.J. Green walked to practice by himself Thursday morning, he was asked by a non-media passer-by if he was playing Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) and gave an emphatic, "Yes." Later he said the same thing to the media after he said he had no limitations in a practice he was listed as full go.
"It could have been worse," said Green of what the Bengals are calling a "pelvis," injury and what Green clarified as a bone bruise in the groin area after he went down on Sunday.
Green also downplayed his desire about getting back in time to play the Falcons in his adopted hometown of Atlanta.
"It's another game, man. It doesn't matter who we're playing," Green said. "It's not like I'm from Atlanta. I'm from South Carolina. I just live in Atlanta during the offseason. No big deal to me. Just another game."
And then there's the showdown with Julio Jones, the Falcons wide receiver he has been linked with since they were the top high school receivers in the nation and continued their rivalry when Green went to Georgia, Jones to Alabama and were then taken No. 4 and No. 7, respectively in the 2011 NFL Draft. Since then, Jones has 605 catches and 9,383 yards and 43 TDs in 98 games while Green is 574 catches and 8,432 yards and 61 TDs in 105 games.
"I play offense. He plays offense. It means nothing to me," Green said. "I see Julio around in the offseason. Great player. Great guy. He plays at a high level year in and year out."
He's closer to one of Jones' wing men, former Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, a guy he talks to regularly on a text tree that includes the hub of the Cincinnati play-off passing game: Green and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with Sanu and former Bengals wide receivers Marvin Jones and Andrew Hawkins. Green, Sanu and Hawkins were in a group that went to Game 4 of this past spring's NBA finals in Cleveland.
"I got the tickets. Hawk got the back-stage passes," Green said. "Hawk's the man in Cleveland."
Now they just have to find out who is going to be the man in Atlanta.
- Two guys who won't are running back Joe Mixon (knee) and rookie center Billy Price (foot), but they're close. If they're not ready for a week from Sunday against the Dolphins at home, it looks like they'll be ready for the Oct. 14 Paul Brown Stadium game against the Steelers. Price says if all things go well (i.e. a Tuesday re-evaluation), he'll be back for the Steelers. At the moment, he's more Lance Armstrong than Jack Armstrong because he hasn't been cleared to do any lower body work.
"A lot of miles on the bike," said Price, who has gone back to his spring regimen when he sat out with a pectoral injury. "The thing now is keeping sharp, so I've been out there with the offense."
Mixon is bouncing around looking like he's ready to go even though he's less than two weeks off arthroscopic knee surgery. Like Price, he's not practicing, but he's not riding any bikes, either.
"I'm feeling good. I'm ready to go," Mixon said. "I'm just waiting for them to clear me."
With Kirkpatrick suddenly a question mark, Plan B would look to be putting slot corner Darqueze Dennard in his spot and then sliding Tony McRae into the slot on third down.