Updated: 4:05 p.m.
After watching Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton work in Thursday's practice, head coach Marvin Lewis said he'll play Sunday in Denver (4:15 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12).
"Good," said Lewis when asked how Dalton looked and when asked if he'll play he said, "Yes."
Dalton was officially listed as "limited," but his condition appears to have rapdly upgraded as he came out at Thursday's practice throwing easily and crisply. Showing little or no signs of the injured throwing wrist that knocked him out of his debut in Cleveland last Sunday, Dalton even slapped right hands with wide receiver A.J. Green after a throw. He buzzed a 15-yard slant over the middle with enough juice that wide receiver Jerome Simpson had to make a pretty stretch-and-grab.
"We didn't challenge him to air it out or throw it deep," said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. "We're slowly bringing him along. We'll let him air out some (Friday) and see how he does. He looked good today. Worse case scenario he could be No. 2 without a problem."
But Lewis ended the suspense as he walked off the field by saying Daltn will play. Dalton wasn't wearing any extra padding or gloves on the wrist and appeared headed for more treatment after practice. It saves the Bengals a roster move, too, because if Dalton couldn't have played they would have had to cut someone to elevate quarterback Zac Robinson from the practice squad.
Left end Robert Geathers (shoulder) sat out his second straight practice and safety Taylor Mays (knee), while not suffering from a major injury, continues to work on the side since being injured in the Sept. 1 preseason finale. Also out was SAM backer Dontay Moch.
Along with Dalton, left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee), right end Michael Johnson (groin), and guard Otis Hudson (knee) were limited. Defensive lineman Frostee Rucker returned Thursday after an illness Wednesday. The Broncos have had some big-time players not work Wednesday and Thursday in running back Knowshon Moreno (hamstring), wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (groin), defensive end Elvis Dumervil (shoulder), and cornerback Champ Bailey (hamstring).
HALL RECALLS: It is the most devastating loss in cornerback Leon Hall's Bengals career, but he would have watched the last two plays if secondary coach Kevin Coyle decided to leave them in the video from that 12-7 loss to the Broncos two years ago Tuesday in the 2009 opener at Paul Brown Stadium.
What Coyle took out were cornerback Johnathan Joseph's interception that was caught out of bounds and then the disaster. With the game done and over, and the Bengals leading 7-6 with Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton on his own 13, Orton flung a ball to the sideline at about his own 40. Hall batted it away, but backward instead of to the sidelines and wide receiver Brandon Stokley caught the deflection behind the secondary for a stunning 87-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left.
Hall said he thinks Coyle showed it to the team to remind them how well the defense, in particular the secondary, played that day. Until that play, the Bengals had allowed just 156 passing yards, two field goals, nine first downs, and two passes of 20-plus yards to wide receivers.
"I was actually looking forward to seeing it," Hall said of the play. "I'm over it now."
JONES CLEARED: A very happy Adam Jones surfaced in the Bengals locker room Thursday with news that the doctors have cleared him for action once he comes off the physically unable to perform list (PUP) next month.
"I'm 100 percent," Jones said. "I feel more than relieved. I feel blessed."
The Bengals chose to treat Jones' comeback from a herniated neck disc conservatively after he required a second surgery a few weeks before training camp. He's eligible to start practicing the week of the Oct. 23 bye and should be available for the Oct. 30 game in Seattle. Getting Jones at that point is like pulling off a trade if he's playing like he did last year before he suffered the injury in the fifth game of the season. He cannot only play inside in the slot, but he can also return punts. His 27-yarder last season was the club's longest of the year.
"I can do everything but practice with the team, which is cool," Jones said. "They have to do what they have to do and I have to continue to get ready."
Even though he can't work with the team, Jones is looking to pop somebody so he can ease the neck back into contact. He has been working on the side, occasionally, in helmet and pads.