Updated: 4:50 p.m.
The Bengals are the healthiest they've been all season, as everyone but right tackle Willie Anderson and wide receiver Chad Johnson dressed for Thursday's practice. Johnson is taking his usual Thursday off to rest, so his playing status for Sunday's game against Arizona doesn't appear to be in jeopardy. Anderson has missed four of the last five games due to knee and foot injuries.
Safeties Madieu Williams and Herana-Daze Jones, both of whom did not practice Wednesday, returned to practice Thursday as expected.
Johnson has been rested for a neck and ankle, and Thursday it was for a knee but he is expected to play. Tight end Reggie Kelly (knee) and middle linebacker Anthony Schlegel (back) went for a full practice while safeties Jones (knee) and Williams (foot), cornerback Deltha O'Neal, and defensive tackle John Thornton (neck) were limited.
Just like last week, the opposing secondary is taking a beating. Cardinals starting cornerback Eric Green injured his ankle in practice Thursday and was on crutches. It's thought to be a sprain but he underwent post-practice tests. If Green can't go, nickel corner Antrel Rolle gets the start and journeyman Ralph Brown gets called up to nickel.
Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson spent another day in a boot with his injured heel and didn't practice. Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt said Wilson is feeling much better but there doesn't seem to be much hope that he'll play.
TJ UNPLUGGED: There is a mutual admiration society between Sunday's receivers. While Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald told the Cincinnati media in a conference call that he studies tape of the Bengals' Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Houshmandzadeh was telling the Arizona media that he looks at the Cardinals' Anquan Boldin and plans to look at Fitzgerald after the season.
The 6-1, 217-pound Boldin has gone under the radar in the desert, needing just 15 yards Sunday to become the fifth receiver to reach 5,000 yards in just 63 games in tying Torry Holt. A hip injury has knocked him out of some games (he's only got 36 catches but five are for touchdowns) and the Cardinals don't think he'll be 100 percent until next season.
"I didn't really know how good he was. He's better than what people give him credit for. That boy plays football," Houshmandzadeh said on the conference call.
"I just looked at Anquan and all the catches (83) he had last year. He doesn't get the credit he deserves as far as when they say top receivers in the league. He blocks, he runs across the middle, he runs the sort routes. He can get deep, but they may want to go deep to Bryant Johnson and throw the jump ball to Fitzgerald. But I like their receivers. They're pretty good."
Houshmandzadeh knows you need three of them and that's why he has embraced the return of Chris Henry even if it cuts into his NFL-leading 68 catches. He admitted the double-teaming confused things.
"Earlier in the season it was shocking to me that pretty much every play me and Chad were getting double-teamed. "I couldn't believe a team would just do that all game," he said. "You're paying your corners and you have no confidence in them? They were literally double-teaming me and Chad every play. Not to discredit the guys who were out there but it was tough because you don't know what's going on.
"They're trying to read coverage and not realizing we're getting doubled. With Chris out there, you leave him one-on-one, there's a great chance it can be a touchdown. That's good for everybody."
FIRING LINE:** Former Bengals kicker Neil Rackers is saying all the right things in Tempe this week, but he acknowledged it was difficult dealing with his release on the brink of the 2003 season.
"I thought I worked hard in the preseason, thought I did a nice job, then I got hurt and then I got fired," he told The Arizona Republic this week. "It's like my wife always says. 'If it took getting fired in Cincinnati to end up here, wish it would have happened a long time ago.' "
Rackers has already missed five field goals this season but the Cards have tried to take advantage of the big foot a little too often. Three of the misses have been from 50 or beyond and he's 9-for-11 from inside 50. Plus, he leads the NFL in touchbacks.