Updated: 4:15 p.m.
PollackIt has come down to 34 days for David Pollack.
At least that's what it said on his refrigerator when he got up Thursday morning to join his teammates at Paul Brown Stadium.
That's where he's counting the days off when doctors remove his halo brace and his broken neck undergoes an MRI to see if it has healed properly since he was taken off the field Sept. 17 after a collision with Cleveland running back Reuben Droughns. Pollack, the Bengals second-year linebacker, said the fractured vertebra is healing perfectly and a recent X-ray showed no hole.
But he also said he's prepared for life without football if the doctors can't guarantee he'll be able to return to the game safely.
"When God closes a door, he opens another one," Pollack said. "It could be somewhere else, or maybe you'll see my ugly face down here again next year."
For Pollack, it's going to be a pretty clear-cut call.
"The only way I would ever think about playing football again," Pollack said, "is if I'm not more likely to be hurt again."
JohnsonSUBDUED CHAD: The Subdued Chad emerged Thursday with Johnson clearly not wanting to talk about his postgame eruption last Sunday or his non-Pro Bowl numbers but pointing out that this Sunday is a must.
"Say, 'San Diego,' " Johnson began his media session. "What? They're the second best defense in the league. It's an interesting challenge for us offensively.
"All of them are must wins. This one has even more importance to us because of our journey toward Miami (to the Super Bowl), so it's a must win. ... If we're going to start hitting our stride, this is the perfect week to do it, the perfect game."
Johnson did loosen up once, when asked about Carson Palmer's observation that the Bengals have tried to move him around a little bit to get him the ball.
"I'll be playing quarterback. What's so funny?" he asked. "I'm giving you the game plan. Little tailback. It will be interesting. ...I'll probably throw it to T.J. and hand off to Rudi."
Remember on Sunday when Johnson angrily compared himself to a hood ornament at Christmas because of his lack of use? On Thursday he removed all decorations from his language.
"It is what it is; we're refreshed," Johnson said. "It doesn't really matter what happened last year. We just have to get it done. We're just talking about the Chargers. I'm fine. I'll be fine.
"We'll be fine. I'm not worried about it. We still have a chance to make the playoffs and I just want to contribute in any way."
INJURY UPDATE: Running back Rudi Johnson was added to Thursday's injury report with a thigh problem, but he's listed as probable even though he didn't practice. The only other change from Wednesday is that defensive tackle Sam Adams practiced in 11-on-11. Right tackle Willie Anderson (shoulder) remained probable even though he didn't practice again. Strong safety Kevin Kaesviharn (knee) and linebacker Brian Simmons (knee) continue to be doubtful and virtual scratches for Sunday.