Updated: 6:20 p.m.
Cornerback Adam Jones says he's stepped up his rehab now that he's wearing his helmet in drills on the side, but all indications are he's going to start the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and miss the first six weeks.
"They said they don't know, but most likely," Jones said after Sunday's practice. "Nothing is set in stone."
The Bengals are bringing Jones along carefully from the two surgeries on his herniated neck disk. One ended his first Bengals season last October and the other one this past July knocked him out of training camp.
"The doctor told me I was healed," Jones said. "Hopefully they're going to (PUP) me because it's a long-term thing and not just for this season. They want me healthy for not just this season. That's the way I'm looking at it."
Jones, in the last year of a two-year deal, says he did tackling drills against a dummy on the side Sunday while wearing a helmet.
"It felt good. Honestly it doesn't feel any different," Jones said. "The only thing that hurt me was the tingling. All that's gone."
SIMS RETURNS:After his first practice of the preseason Sunday, defensive tackle Pat Sims pronounced himself ready for Thursday's preseason finale against the Colts.
"It went great. It went better than I thought. Working out by yourself is worse," Sims said.
He said he could go 30 snaps if asked this week, but as he noted, "It's not a real game," so the Bengals may be saving his snaps for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener in Cleveland.
In the last two games the first-team Bengals defense has allowed running backs to gain just 55 yards on 22 carries and what has them feeling really good is they've done it without Sims, one of their best run players.
"They're doing a pretty good job," Sims said. "I'll come in when I need to. I have no problem with that. I'm just getting ready to play now."
Even though his knee was hurting Sims had a strong finish last season with two sacks and eight tackles in the last four games. He had arthroscopic surgery on his knee for a torn meniscus in January and head coach Marvin Lewis has said Sims was a victim of the lockout because he couldn't rehab with the team.
But now after a month of work with the club he's back and ready.
"You've got to play with pain; that's part of the game," Sims said. "However much they want to play me, I'm ready."
Also returning Sunday was rookie running back Jay Finley (ankle), out since the opener.
Tight end Jermaine Gresham played on a sprained ankle Thursday and sat out Sunday. Defensive tackle Jason Shirley pulled a calf muscle in Thursday's warmups, missed the game, and was out Sunday. Left end Carlos Dunlap (knee) continued his rehab on the side Sunday.