Palmer: Better, but no decision

Updated: 1:45 p.m.

Carson Palmer showed up wearing a Harvard shirt at his Wednesday news conference, but he said he still doesn't know if ex-Crimson quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start in his place.

After the walkthrough before Wednesday's practice, Palmer indicated he's only participating in running plays as he rests his ailing right elbow that benched him last week against Cleveland.

"Nothing's changed. I'm preparing to play. I'm expecting to play," he said. "I'll be a little bit limited in practice, but I'm getting as many reps as I can. It looks like it's going to come down to a decision later in the week. It's definitely getting better. It's progressing day-to-day. I just cross my fingers and keep praying and hope it keeps progressing."

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Palmer

In the first part of Wednesday's practice, Palmer simulated a throwing motion in drills but he wasn't throwing the ball. Marvin Lewis said he took part in some running plays and only did "rehab throwing," during a practice he was listed as "limited."

In other injury news, cornerback Johnathan Joseph was dressed in pads and on the field but working on the side. Safety Dexter Jackson and running back Kenny Watson weren't in pads and were also working on the side.

Palmer has insisted he doesn't need surgery for the inflammation and indications are he hasn't damaged the tendons or ligaments. But he said coming back too quickly could lead to it.

"I don't want to overstress what I've got going on," Palmer said. "When you do that, you start getting tendonitis or start tearing things and (it) requires surgery down the road. The training staff ... definitely (has) a long-term mindset in seeing some progress and making sure we're not pushing it too fast."

STAR POWER: Palmer is/was a huge Troy Aikman fan growing up near the Cowboys training camp in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Aikman, the Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox analyst, is a big Palmer fan now. He couldn't believe that Palmer didn't call him out Wednesday.

In July, Aikman visited Chargers head coach Norv Turner, his old offensive coordinator in Dallas, as he was moving into a home on a cul de sac in Del Mar, Calif.

"Moving vans, cars all over the place," Aikman said Wednesday morning via phone. "I asked Norv, 'Where do I park?' and Norv says, 'Park right here. Block my neighbor's driveway. My neighbor is Carson Palmer. He's not here. He's in Cincinnati.' "

It turns out that Turner's car was also blocking the Palmers' driveway and Aikman just shrugged, thinking, "That's pretty cool to be Carson Palmer's neighbor."

"But 45 minutes later there's Carson trying to get into his driveway and he was none too happy about it," Aikman said. "He lightened up a little bit when he saw it was us, but he was in a hurry. I think he had just come from working out and he and his buddies were trying to (leave)."

Palmer gave proper homage to the Cowboys on Wednesday.

"It's America's Team. It has the perception of being the classiest organization," Palmer said. "Everybody wants to play for the Cowboys. Everybody wants to be drafted by the Cowboys. The way they have their organization set up and the way they treat their players.

"I think everybody is looking forward to this game because of all the attention they get. Whether it's the large fan base, they seem to have fans all over the country. It just seems like 'The Show,' kind of like the Lakers are in the NBA."

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Henry

NEWCOMERS: Wednesday marked wide receiver Chris Henry's return to practice after a four-game suspension and Palmer is hopeful after what he called several visits with Henry.

"From everything I can tell he's doing a great job as far as blocking out people, the kind of people that have brought him down," Palmer said. "He's really just focused on his family and getting his life together. Guys that have talked to him have noticed it and they're proud of him in that way."

But Palmer has no idea if he's ready to play.

"If he does it in practice, he can do it in a game. He's proven that," he said.

Palmer also said he spoke with the newest Bengal, former Bears running back Cedric Benson, briefly Wednesday morning and is glad to have him with Chris Perry the only other tailback practicing.

"He's had reps, he's scored touchdowns, he's run for a number of yards," Palmer said. "Having a guy like that who's been in a complicated offense where he had a lot of blitz pickups and a lot of protection issues, having a guy with his experience stepping into our offense where the running back is called on quite a bit for blocking and picking up different looks and schemes, it's good and a big plus for us. With his experience he's had some success, played in a Super Bowl and played in big games."

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