The Bengals hit the practice field Friday morning with no A.J. Green (toe). Green has been officially classified as doubtful. So now the question isn't going to be if he plays this Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Indianapolis, but if he plays next Sunday against the Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.
SAM linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (shoulder) has been declared doubtful, but could play the next Sunday because he was on the side Friday working vigorously. But there was no sign of middle backer Rey Maualuga (hamstring) officially declared out, indicating he may be a couple of weeks away.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth returned to work Friday after two rest days.
Talking to reporters after Friday's practice, Lewis says he has no time frame on Green's return. But it seems to be inching along each week and he has a better chance against the Ravens than he did the previous two weeks. This week and last marks the first time in his NFL career Green has missed back-to-back games and Lewis says it's the best thing for his mental health to be inside rehabbing and not on the practice field.
Lewis saw the look on Green's face in last Sunday's stretch line and all he could do was fold his arms.
"He's doing everything he's supposed to do. There's no reason to stand around on his toe if he doesn't need to," Lewis said. "It's hard enough for him not to be out there practicing with his teammates. He was on the sidelines Sunday and it was rough for him. It's a difficult time for him not to be able to play. He's such a competitive person and inwardly quietly, competitive. It's hard. We're just going to allow him some time."
ZEITLER READY: When right guard Kevin Zeitler injured his calf late in the first half of the Sept. 14 win over Atlanta, some thought he was playing the best among the offensive linemen. Lewis says he's back and although Mike Pollak played well in his spot, it's nice to have depth again.
"He's excited. It will be good to get Zeit back," Lewis said. "He was having a great year. Hopefully he'll pick up where he left off."
MAYS ON DECK: Lewis confirmed Maualuga (hamstring) is going to be out a couple of weeks, but he kept hopes on Lamur alive for Indy. Lewis indicated the hope is he'll be able to go next week and that's the way it looked as he worked on the side.
Lewis also said he feels pretty good about being able to use safety Taylor Mays covering tight ends if Lamur can't go. It's the job Mays did the first eight games of last season until he suffered the same season-ending shoulder injury Lamur took in training camp last year.
It's been a murderer's row of tight ends, starting with the New England beasts two weeks ago, then Carolina's Greg Olsen last week, and now the Indy tandem of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. And then next week Owen Daniels is waiting for the Ravens.
"Taylor gives us some flexibility," Lewis said. "He understands the coverage of things from the back (the secondary) and also from underneath (at backer) , so that's good. We play a group (Sunday) that has effective tight ends and obviously next week we do again. We're in a pretty good spot right now.
"They're going to these athletic-type, big receiver guys at (tight end). There are few offenses in college football playing with tight ends, so it's guys that are growing up in selected places."
KENNY CHECKS IN: Also Friday, Ken Anderson stopped by practice and the Bengals all-time leading passer had some kind words for the current No. 14. Anderson has been keeping track of Andy Dalton and his mates at a Bengals' bar near his home in Hilton Head, S.C., run by a transplanted Cincinnatian.
"We're all decked out in Bengals gear and there's a lot of Who Deys chanted as we watch the game," Anderson said. "I think he's not turning it over, he's completing a lot of passes. The thing I really like is he's been avoiding sacks by throwing it away this year, which really helps the offensive line. I expected him to continue his improvement and he's done that."