Updated: 3:15 p.m.
After watching his battered 2-4 team come out of Friday morning's practice in not that bad of shape, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis could let loose a sigh of relief and even joke about what looked to be a doomsday scenario for Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Dolphins (Cincinnati's Channel 12) at Paul Brown Stadium.
"You think there's something wrong with having your first four corners down, your quarterback and your receiver, two of your four safeties," asked Lewis in mock surprise. "There was a little concern in the Lewis household."
"It looked as though today we've got a pretty good shot at having most of our guys available. It's just determining what's the best mix of guys. I thought they practiced well today. The guys that haven't done much work I thought did a good job when they went in there full speed."
After sitting out of practice with a hip issue Thursday, Carson Palmer gave the thumbs-up Friday morning and said he would practice in the upcoming workout and play Sunday. He went full go and is probable.
"It's something we've taken care of for awhile and we got it everything taken care of and I'm ready to rock," Palmer said.
Lewis also said after Friday it looks like most of the injured defensive backs are going to be available for the Dolphins. He indicated that starting cornerback Leon Hall and starting safety Chinedum Ndukwe looked to be recovered. Hall was marked as probable after a full practice and Ndukwe is questionable after he was limited Friday. Lewis' challenge is to pick out which guys can go the whole way Sunday and those who can't.
"Hopefully Lady Luck will shine on us that way," he said.
Hall (hamstring) and Ndukwe (knee) went on the field for the first time this week Friday. So did Morgan Trent (knee) and he was limited as well as questionble. Safety Roy Williams (knee) made his first appearance since he got injured Oct. 3, but Lewis doesn't expect him to play this week and he's listed as doubtful. Lewis also said cornerback/safety Rico Murray is going to get called up and put on the active 53-man roster for Sunday, taking the spot of injured cornerback Adam Jones.
It appeared the only player not practicing was defensive tackle Jon Fanene (hamstring), ruled out earlier in the week.
Earlier in the week, Palmer said that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre's record of starting 291 straight games is the greatest record in sports. While he hasn't come close to that, he's tough enough that Lewis was concerned when he didn't practice Thursday. Particularly since he spent all morning with him until noon and was told an hour later he couldn't work.
"He's not going to let things hold him up and hold him out," Lewis said. "Later as (Thursday) went on , they felt better for him not to work and get himself out of kilter where he's maybe doing too much with his arm and shoulder rather than his lower body."
Palmer has had a 51-game streak and Sunday marks 23 straight games.
But the secondary picture is still cloudy. Starting cornerback Johnathan Joseph is fighting a high ankle sprain and he was limited Thursday and Friday and is questionable. He was also limited last Friday and didn't play Sunday when it didn't respond in pregame warmups, but he says it feels much better than last week.
Joseph admitted there is some pressue to play with other guys worse off than him, but he also said he didn't want to come back too soon and "miss the next five games."
Wide receiver Terrell Owens (hand), limited Thursday, went full go Friday and is probable. So is right tackle Andre Smith (ankle) and WILL linebacker Keith Rivers (foot) after being limited earlier in the week. Even though he went full go all week after missing last week's game, running back Brian Leonard (thigh) is questionable. So is backup WILL linebacker Brandon Johnson (knee) after he ws limited all week.
Murray had been in that odd part of purgatory on an NFL team. He went out to practice Friday morning not knowing if he'd get the call. A Cincinnati guy all the way (Kent State via Moeller High School), he's literally got the city under his skin. On top of his chest in tattoo script are the words, "Natti boy," sandwiched by two colorful Reds C logos. He played in five games last season that included the postseason, but his debut came in Minnesota.
"This would be exciting (Sunday) with it being at home," he said. "It would be a whole different experience."
With everybody so banged up, Murray, who usually works just on the scout team, found himself playing with the No. 1 defense as well as working on the scout team this week.
"I'm preparing like I'm going to play," he said. "When they tell me, I'll know. I can't say it's too tiring. I do a lot of running every week keeping up with Chad (Ochocinco) and T.O. They keep me in condition. I practice hard enough so that I do my conditioning during practice, so it's nothing out of the norm."
The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio has a treat forecast for Sunday's 1 p.m. Halloween game against the Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium, calling for kickoff temperatures of 55 degrees to get as high as 59 during the game. A wind out of the north at about 10 miles per hour is predicted and rain is not in dry conditions that might see a few clouds.