Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton visits the doctor Monday and he's hoping he'll take the cast off his throwing thumb 22 days after he broke it against Pittsburgh.
Dalton and tight end Ryan Hewitt (knee) are the only players ruled out for Sunday's regular-season finale at Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) against the Ravens. Everyone was listed Friday as full go and probable.
But Dalton has no idea what the doctor is going to tell him and what the timetable is whenever the cast comes off. Asked if he's ruled himself out of next weekend's potential Wild Card Game at PBS and in for the Jan. 16-17 divisional game where ever, he said he's got no idea.
"It depends how it feels and what the doctor says," Dalton said before Friday's practice. "It's hard to tell exactly how it feels. It's getting better. That's what they're saying."
Dalton continues to get bone stimulation twice a day and on the side during practice he's going through exercises and drills he picked up at Dr. Tom House's football camp to keep his mechanics sharp.
One of the good things about being in the House regimen is that it involves a lot more than actually passing a football. So for instance, he can continue working on his footwork and rotating his hips while simulating a throw.
"The stuff I do (with House), you don't touch a football for an hour, then you go throw," Dalton said.
It's been tough missing the first two games of his career and he's been reduced to doing cardio and drills, as well as helping shag balls during warmups and playing safety in walk-thrus.
"I've had about five snaps of defense in my life," Dalton said. "I've got a PBU at corner on my resume. Seventh grade."
But it helps offensive coordinator Hue Jackson because Dalton in the walk-thru is positioning the defenders as close as possible to what they're going to see in the game.
Dalton goes into the last game with an outside shot at his first NFL passing title. He's third (106.3) behind Seattle's Russell Wilson (109.3) and Arizona's Carson Palmer (106.8). New England's Tom Brady (103.1) maybe can make some noise against the Dolphins' No. 27 defense in Miami, but it is Wilson's to lose in a showdown with Palmer in Arizona. The Cardinals are trying to win while hoping Carolina loses to Tampa Bay, which would give them the NFC''s No. 1 seed. Seattle is playing for the fifth or sixth seed, so they don't really need it.
"Both those guys are playing out of their minds. I don't expect anything to stop," Dalton said.
SEED STORE: As long as the Bengals have a shot at a play-off bye, head coach Marvin Lewis is going after it and that includes Sunday. The only way the Bengals can lose and get a bye is if Denver loses to San Diego at home and Kansas City beats Oakland at home. If the Bengals win, they need a Denver loss for the bye.
If none of it happens, they are already assured a home game Saturday or Sunday. But Lewis says they won't prepare for it a week early.
"I can't control if guys stay healthy. We have to go play. That's what we're here to do. Win games," Lewis said after Friday's walk-thru. "This is not an opportunity to rest people. We have to go win the game and see what happens from there.
"It's important. Our guys have a great mind set . . . It's a division game, a home game and we want to win it . . . we know we're playing a team in Baltimore that's going to come in here and try and knock our heads off."