Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert returns to practice

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert hauls in a pass Wednesday while participating in his first practice since suffering an ankle injury in the Pro Bowl in January. JAY MORRISON/STAFF
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Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert hauls in a pass Wednesday while participating in his first practice since suffering an ankle injury in the Pro Bowl in January. JAY MORRISON/STAFF

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert returned to practice today, but he said he doesn’t know if he will be able to play Sunday in the home opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

“He’ll be taking steps closer to playing,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “It will be good, not having padded practices in training camp, the opportunity to go out and get moving around again and doing football. He’s been doing everything else he can do. Now it’s another step in his progression.”

Eifert, who had surgery in May after injuring his right ankle in the Pro Bowl , was on the field running routes and catching passes prior to Sunday's 24-16 loss at Pittsburgh, but he said that wasn't a new step.

“It was good, but we’d been running routes for a couple days, we were just waiting for you guys (media) to leave,” Eifert said. “I ran route a couple days last week and continued to feel good and progressing forward. Pretty soon I’ll be back on the field. Today’s another step in the right direction.”

Today’s practice, which began at 1 p.m., wias Eifert’s first since the week leading up to the wild-card loss to Pittsburgh in January.

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