Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase plans to tell head coach Zac Taylor if he can play hours before Sunday's game (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Kansas City.
Chase, who reports say suffered a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, had a limited practice Thursday and then updated the media for the first time since leaving late in the Dec. 17 overtime win over the Vikings.
"Good question. If I knew I'd be playing," Chase said when asked how close he is to 100%. "I'm getting (range of motion) back. It's going to come down to tolerating pain from a hit, for real. If anything, that will be the biggest test. You can't test that pregame. You'll hurt yourself before you play. We'll find out."
Chase knows what's on the line. If the 8-7 Bengals win out, they have a more than 90% chance to make the postseason. A loss makes it tough. He says that's part of the equation.
"That's in my head right now. That's why we're here," Chase said. "It's up to me making the decision. Be in the right mindset to play. My body. Mindset. All of the above."
Chase's chase for 100 catches (he's got a career-high 93) and the team record of 112, isn't at the forefront.
"I'm not saying I'm satisfied, but I did a good bit this year," said Chase, who has 1,156 yards. "I still have plenty of time to go after that record."
HILTON VOW: Bengals slot cornerback Mike Hilton believes he's playing some of the best ball of his career in the past month and says the disappointment of his performance in last year's AFC title game loss to the Chiefs has fueled him.
And then there was that moment of euphoria after the Divisional win over the Bills when he said the Bengals were going to "Burrowhead," for that Championship Game, re-naming the Chiefs' home stadium in honor of the Bengals quarterback who was 3-0 against them and led an 18-point comeback at Arrowhead in the 2021 AFC Championship.
"It doesn't bother me anymore. I thought about taking it back, but that's not me," Hilton said after Thursday's practice. "I probably had one of the worst games of my career. It's a humbling experience.
"To go against those guys means a lot. To go there, it means a lot. To re-do my performance from last year would be big. It might help us get in position to win this game. I'm expecting them to come my way . I'll be ready."
The play that gnaws at Hilton from the 23-20 loss on a field goal in the last seconds came with 4:15 left in the third quarter with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes staring at a third-and-10 from the Bengals 19 in a 13-13 game.
Mahomes juked in the pocket and stepped up to fling it just before he was leveled by left end Sam Hubbard. It was a low rope to wide receiver Marquez Valdes- Scantling, who barely had a step on Hilton coming across the end zone and caught it on his back for the touchdown as Hilton dove and felt the ball whiz centimeters past his fingertips.
"Gave up three explosives. That touchdown, it's a four-point swing. We lost by three. Who knows what happens if I bat that ball?" Hilton said. "Not too many quarterbacks can make that throw. But I have to be in better position to make the play.
"I don't regret it," Hilton said of "Burrowhead." "It was the worst game of my career and I've got a chance to right that wrong."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: No. 1 cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (ankle) says he's 100% after missing the last five games. The man they call "Juice," knows what he can bring Sunday: "My nickname.Just bring energy to the defense."
Chase, who came up with a memorable fourth-down catch in last year's Arrowhead game against the Chiefs' double coverage of both him and wide receiver Tee Higgins, expects more of the same.
"Nothing really," said Chase, asked what stands out in the Chiefs secondary. "They know how to play the leverages. They know certain movements. They throw the double- double at us, on the best players outside. That's all they do. It's not like they've got a Jalen Ramsey." ….…..