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Bengals' Green-Ellis returns to practice


Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was back at practice Wednesday, although he was listed as “limited” on the team’s official injury report.

“I really don’t want to talk about the injury,” said Green-Ellis, who missed Sunday’s regular-season finale against Baltimore after feeling a twinge in his hamstring during pregame warmups. “I just want to do the best I can to get back there on the field and try to help the guys on Saturday.”

Green-Ellis, who has rushed for a career-high 1,094 yards this season, figures to be a big part of the game plan Saturday when the Bengals play the Houston Texans in an AFC Wild Card game.

The ability to practice inside the bubble at the University of Cincinnati, as the Bengals did for the second consecutive day Wednesday, and the fact that the Reliant Stadium roof is expected to be closed Saturday should increase the likelihood Green-Ellis will be able play.

“I’m just sticking to whatever the rehab course is and the process and going through those things,” he said. “If my health is good enough to play, of course I’ll be out there. If everything lines up as it needs to be, I’ll be out there.”

Defensive end Wallace Gilberry (ill) was the only player who missed practice Wednesday. Cornerbacks Jason Allen (hamstring) and Terence Newman (groin) and safeties Chris Crocker (thigh) and Taylor Mays (hamstring) were limited.

Lewis retirement: It didn’t take long for news of Ray Lewis’ announced retirement to reach the Bengals locker room on Wednesday, and there was plenty of reaction.

“He’s had a tremendous career, tremendous impact,” said Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis, who was the Baltimore defensive coordinator when the Ravens drafted Ray Lewis in 1997. “His mentorship to other players, his leadership is hard to describe. I had a chance to visit with him briefly before (Sunday’s) game. I said to myself, ‘He doesn’t look a day older than when we drafted him.’ ”

Lewis missed the last nine games of the regular season with a torn triceps, but he is expected to make his return Sunday in Baltimore for the Ravens’ Wild Card playoff game against Indianapolis.

Lewis’ five career interceptions against the Bengals are his most against any team, and his 6.5 sacks are tied for second most (seven against Cleveland).

“Obviously he’s a great player that achieved a lot in his 17-year career,” Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga said. “He’s done it all. Anything that you could ask for in a middle linebacker, he’s done it and beyond.”

Talking Texans: Cornerback Jason Allen is in his first season with the Bengals after spending the last two with the Texans.

“He’s been talking to the guys about formations and plays,” Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said.

Allen was in for roughly half the snaps in Houston’s 31-10 Wild Card win against the Bengals last year, finishing with five tackles and one pass defended.

Due to various injuries and a deep secondary, Allen has played in just four games this season, although three have come in December. His knowledge of the Texans’ personnel and formations could be his biggest contribution to the Bengals to date.

“Both teams are going to be well prepared, so more than anything I’m trying to help the young guys, the ones who have never been to the playoffs, understand the atmosphere down there,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing, be prepared for the crowd noise. Don’t let it get to you.”

Defensive duo: Linebacker Vontaze Burfict and defensive end Carlos Dunlap were nominated for AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, but the award went to the Indianapolis Colts’ Vontae Davis.

Burfict had a career-high 23 tackles in the 23-17 win against Baltimore to become the first Bengals rookie to the lead the team in tackles since Odell Thurman in 2005, while Dunlap had a sack and a 14-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Dunlap already has won the award once this season for his Dec. 2 performance in San Diego in which he had five tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass defended.


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