Thursday update: Debugged Dalton (limited) practices; Hall in boot; Geno noted


Updated: 2:45 p.m.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's 24-hour bug crawled away in time to get him on the field for Thursday morning's practice on the Paul Brown Stadium field after he called in sick Wednesday with what head coach Marvin Lewis called "the flu."

It would have to be of the one-day variety after he came to PBS to meet with the trainers and a trip to the hospital Wednesday morning.

"It was a tough day yesterday. I feel a lot better than I did," said Dalton, listed as limited. "It was just a one-day thing. It kind of came out of nowhere. I feel good now."

Safety Taylor Mays (hamstring) looks like he'll miss his second straight game because he hasn't practiced this week. Outside linebacker Dontay Moch, who has been battling headaches the past few months, also was out all week. Defensive lineman Jon Fanene missed practice because of a non-injury reason.

Defensive lineman Frostee Rucker (shoulder) and defensive tackle Geno Atkins (Achilles) were limited while running back Cedric Benson (foot), center Kyle Cook (foot), and safety Chrs Crocker (knee) were full go Thursday.

Also Thursday, cornerback Leon Hall (Achilles) visited from injured reserve amd rehabbed at PBS. He's off crutches and in a walking boot but he has no timeline on a return from his tear. He's riding the bike but isn't close to running. The tentative date for a return is the first day of training camp.

» Geno Atkins shrugged Thursday when told John Clayton of him picked him over Detroit's Ndamukong Suh at defensive tackle on his Pro Bowl team. Even though Atkins had a half-sack taken away in a film review, his 7.5 were good enough to tie Oakland's Tommie Kelly for the NFL lead among defensive tackles.

"OK," Atkins said. "I'm just thinking about trying to win this game."

Clayton's take: "I had Suh at midseason, but he kind of stomped his way out of it. I think you look at how Geno is stopping the run and he's putting up Suh-like numbers. You look at Tommie Kelly and Oakland's defense isn't very good, but the Bengals are highly ranked and Geno must be a big reason. That's not to say that Suh isn't the third or fourth best tackle."

If you want to see how close the defensive line is, ranging from the "elder" 28-year-old Robert Geathers, to third-year man Michael Johnson, to the 23-year-old Atkins and 22-year-old Carlos Dunlap, check out the response to Atkins having his half-sack wiped away. Not only does it mean he ended up not leading all NFL DTs in sacks, but it also meant he no longer shares with Dan Wilkinson the club record of sacks by a tackle with eight.

Hearing the tough-break question to Atkins on Thursday morning, Dunlap fired out from his neighboring locker, "A wise man once told me if you're not missing sacks, then you're not getting back there."

"Quote Carlos on that," Atkins said.

"I actually heard it from Michael Johnson," Dunlap said.

Johnson chimed in, "I heard it from Rob (Geathers)."

"He's got the gray beard," Johnson said.

» Bengals offensive and defensive coordinators Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer are getting big runs in the media as head coaching candidates with, saying Gruden is the favorite in Jacksonville and Zimmer is highly regarded in Tampa Bay. But there wasn't an indication that the Bengals had been approached officially yet since both are under contract. Head coach Marvin Lewis had no comment after Friday's practice.

» Lewis is facing the new playoff overtime rule, in its second year of existence. Which means both teams get a shot to score, unless the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown. Once both teams get that chance, it ends on the first score. Lewis says he'll treat it as normal and take the ball if the Bengals win the toss. The only way he wouldn't is if there was a wind issue, but that won't be the case in Houston.

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