Saturday's game in Dallas (8 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) may be the third one of the preseason, but that doesn't mean it's a dress rehearsal in Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis's world.
So while two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green figures to play for the first time this season, don't look for him very long.
"It's the number of snaps I have in mind. Each player has to be handled individually," Lewis said after Thursday's practice as he discussed the factors going into play time. "There's depth at the position and the player's experience."
Lewis disputes the universal notion that the third preseason game is when all the first-stringers have to play into the second half.
"It's way different than it used to be," he said. "When guys and salary caps are what they are and the importance of the player (has grown)."
That made it sound like the play time of Green—and maybe left tackle Andrew Whitworth—won't be as much as others Saturday.
"You can write that down," Lewis said. "At some point you will see A.J. Green. He may be beside me in warmups. I think he's making the trip.
"It will be good to at least play a little bit and it will be fun for him to play. He wants to play. He's ready to play and we'll go from there."
The Bengals held their last full-scale practice Thursday morning before Friday's trip to Dallas and most everyone was saddled up. Those that weren't don't look to be suffering from injuries that impact their status for the Sept. 8 season opener in Chicago. Lewis said more players are available to play this week than last week.
He didn't say when safety George Iloka would be back with a broken hand that has limited his practices. But he did say he could play without a cast and wear a splint that would let him grab.
It's believed cornerback Brandon Ghee (head) and left end Robert Geathers (unknown) won't play after not practicing all week. Left end Caros Dunlap has been dressed all four days since coming back from a concussion but it's unknown if he'll play. Cornerback Adam Jones and SAM linebacker James Harrison returned Thursday after missing a couple of days with unknown ailments.
Linebacker Brandon Joiner, who looks to be vying for a practice sqaud spot, was to get an MRI after he injured his knee Thursday.
Lewis appeared to stick to his Thursday schedule after most of Wednesday's practice was washed out.