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Palmer still on side

Updated: 11:50 p.m.

Carson Palmer wore No. 9 Sunday for the first time since he sprained his ankle two weeks ago, but he wasn't wearing his helmet or shoulder pads as he went through a series of agility drills on the side while his teammates practiced wearing both. Later he said it's the most work he's done on the injury.

With trainer Nick Cosgray directing what looked to be a team of therapists, Palmer showed some pretty good movement as he worked with ropes and shuffled through cones. With the Bengals preseason finale in four days, it looks as if Palmer isn't far enough along for the club to decide one way or another if he's ready for the Colts at Paul Brown Stadium Thursday night.

"I don't know," he said. "Day-to-day."

Palmer said he dropped back at half speed Sunday, hopes to be three-quarters Monday, and then 80-90 percent as Thursday's preseason finale comes closer.

But what he's really preparing for physically and mentally is the Sept. 13 opener against Denver, a game he says there is no question he'll play. Yet if there is any chance that Palmer is going to play Thursday, it probably disappeared in the last 24 hours as news of injuries to QBs Matt Cassel (MCL) and Kyle Orton surfaced.  

"I'm doing more every day," Palmer said. "Nick's done a great job just getting me as close as possible to getting healthy ... the drills change every few days. This is the most I've done."

But he's done lobbying to play Thursday night: "They really don't care what I say. (The trainers) are educated people. They'll make an educated decision."

Also working on the side were safety Chris Crocker (hamstring), wide receiver Antonio Chatman (ankle), and defensive end Frostee Rucker (hip). On Saturday, Crocker said he'd be ready for the Sept. 13 opener. With Sam Swank still on the roster, it can be assumed kicker Shayne Graham (hamstring) is also out.

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