Linebacker Vontaze Burfict gave a thumbs-up Friday morning before going to a walk-through on the Paul Brown Stadium turf in another encouraging sign for his comeback from micro fracture knee surgery.
Whether it's enough for him to be activated so he can play as tolerated Sunday against the Steelers (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) remains to be seen. The decision figures to be made Saturday, which would involve cutting a player and adding Burfict to the active 53-man roster.
But after Friday's practice head coach Marvin Lewis said there are still moving pieces to the decision and the biggest question of all doesn't involve the Steelers.
"I think about his career. That's what I worry about," Lewis said. "I'm not worried about our season. I worry about his career. "
Lewis said all levels of the club have to be on board with him getting activated.
"When everybody agrees he's ready to play, he'll play," Lewis said. "But it's got to be everybody. That's what I have to see. I have to see everybody in agreement.
"Medical, me and what we see as a football player."
The Bengals have a brief, up-tempo workout before they leave for Pittsburgh Saturday. The fact that Burfict had no setback after practicing for the first time Thursday is a solid sign. But he still has to get in football shape and if he did play Sunday he'd certainly be within a snap count that probably wouldn't exceed 15-20 plays.
"When he's ready to play, he's not ready to play a full football game," Lewis said. "It's just like what went on in the preseason. Nobody plays the first preseason game for 60 snaps. They're not in that kind of football condition to do that."
If the 2009 game in Pittsburgh was The War of 18-12, then this may be shaping up as The Journey to Wounded Knee. As expected, after he practiced full all week, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is probable after missing the last month with a sprained knee.
PHILIP RIVERS WEATHER UPDATE: The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for no chance of rain during Sunday's game in Pittsburgh during a mostly cloudy day with a kick-off temperature of about 60 degrees and south west wind of 10 miles per hour.