Updated: 2:10 p.m.
After Bengals running back Cedric Benson practiced Friday morning, head coach Marvin Lewis said he looks ready to play but wasn't ready to make the call yet for Sunday's game against the Browns and he was listed as questionable on Friday's injury after a limited practice.
"I thought he was close to being able to play last week and obviously he's ready to play now," Lewis said. "I'll make a decision. I don't have any doubts that he's ready to play. Based on what he's done the last three days, I would say that he's probably healed pretty well."
That makes it sound like a go. Now the question is if Benson is active, does Larry Johnson become inactive? On Friday, Lewis wouldn't rule out both being active as he begins to narrow down his countless options for the final inacitve list and he had high praise for Johnnson, the former Chiefs running back who signed last week and had two carries against the Raiders.
"I'm not going to go into all that," Lewis said. "If the numbers work, we'll do what we do best."
But what we do know is that he thinks Benson is healthy and that Johnson can be a factor.
"I think Larry could make a great impact," Lewis said. Asked if Johnson has surprised him in his six practices with the club, he said, "He's much quicker to the hole. He has quicker burst. He's more impressive in person than he was having to coach against him when I was very impressed."
Benson sounded ready before practice.
"It's a little sore. It will be a matter of staying warm," said Benson before venturing into Friday morning's 35-degree weather on the FieldTurf in Paul Brown Stadium. "But I think as long as I'm warm, I'm good.
"We'll see how it goes. We're making no final decisions," said Benson, who had a good workout in Oakland before last Sunday's game. "We got a good workout (Thursday), too, so we'll see how it goes. ... It's more (tightness and soreness), there's no achiness. I'd rather be tight and sore than hurt."
It could be difficuilt for Lewis to keep four running backs plus a fullback active with defensive tackle Domata Peko in the same boat as Benson. He also practice limited Friday and was listed as questionable as they see how he responds to his new knee brace. He had yet to be on the field this week after spraining a medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Oakland, but he said it felt good Thursday in the brace when he ran around.
"I think it feels secure," Peko said before practice. "I'm excited to see how it feels. If it feels this way, I'll be straight."
Peko didn't miss a game last month after he sprained his other knee. He said it's a different part of the knee but he said it doesn't feel much different. While Peko did dress that next game against the Bears, the Bengals went heavy on the defensive line and made running back Brian Leonard inactive. But the D-line was banged up more then than it is now. Back then Frostee Rucker and Pat Sims were nursing injuries, but they seem healthy now.
But Lewis does have plenty of situations to sift through. Also questionable after being limited Friday were wide receiver Laveranues Coles (chest), WILL linebacker Keith Rivers (calf) and cornerback Morgan Trent (knee). Left end Robert Geathers (hip), cornerback Johnathan Joseph (foot), and left guard Evan Mathis went full go Friday and are probable. Defensive tackle Tank Johnson (knee) and SAM linebacker Rey Maualuga (foot) went limited Friday and are probable.
Benson will get his wish on Sunday. The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for game-time temperatures in the low 50s under partly cloudy skies with no chance of rain and a wind of five to 10 miles per hour from the southwest.