So what is the deal with Carson Palmer?
Apparently the concern isn't if he can return from a surgically-repaired elbow, but when. And the Jake Delhomme recovery isn't a guide because the timetable and extent of the injuries don't match up.
Palmer still hasn't decided if he'll have the surgery, but apparently that hope he has of playing is pretty dim because on Friday night ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Palmer is likely done for the year even if he decides not to have surgery on what the story described as a "frayed" ulnar collateral ligament.
"He's still excited about wanting to play regardless of when it becomes," Lewis said. "Whenever he gets the green light, so he wants to play.
"At this point it's still on course the way the medical people see it. The green light could come if things get totally back to normal."
Speculation has been rampant that Palmer has thrown his last pass of the season because the club doesn't want to risk the future of its franchise quarterback. Asked if he could outline the options facing him before practice Friday, Palmer politely declined.
"I've been told not to," he said.
So now it's back in the land of speculation, although Mortensen has provided a pretty extensive road map. It is all that's out there because the team, Palmer and his representatives haven't spoken in-depth about the injury on the record. Calls to his agents have not been returned since Palmer surfaced on the club's injury report Sept. 26, five days after Giants cornerback Corey Webster hit his elbow as he double-clutched a throw against the blitz.
Mortensen reported that Delhomme's surgery was on Oct. 18, 2007, and that he was participating in organized team activities in late spring and early summer and that he had no setbacks.
But Mortensen said that Palmer's injury isn't as extensive, which is probably why Palmer has asked the Bengals to hold off on him making a surgical decision until December.
That appears to be the dilemma and has both Palmer and the club uneasy.
If they wait and the rest does its job, he'll have a full recovery and should be ready to go in the spring. If he waits, rests, and still needs the surgery, no one really knows how he'll respond and the timetable could go into next season. The worst-case scenario of any postseason surgery is not being ready for training camp, ending up on the physically unable to perform list (PUP), and missing the first six games of the next season.
But the feeling seems to be that the best plan is to give it every opportunity to heal without the surgery.
Lewis said he has no problems with a return if Palmer gets a clean bill of health.
"I think that's good; I'm glad he feels that way," Lewis said. "He felt that way after the Jets game. He was excited for a chance to play. Before the last round of doctor visits."
Don't look for him before the Nov. 9 bye.
Lewis hinted Friday that Palmer (elbow) wouldn't play next week against the Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium, but left alone the Nov. 16 game against the Eagles at PBS.
"Because of the bye coming up after (Jacksonville), it's probably going to be later than sooner," he said.