The Cincinnati Bengals will be without six starters Sunday against the Chicago Bears, and another four players are listed as questionable.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict, running back Joe Mixon and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick will sit out after suffering concussions in Monday night’s 23-20 loss to the Steelers, while cornerback Adam Jones (groin), linebacker Nick Vigil (ankle) and safety Shawn Williams (hamstring) will be inactive as well.
Defensive tackle Geno Atkins (toe), cornerback Darqueze Dennard (knee), linebacker Vinny Rey (hamstring) and safety Brandon Wilson (ankle) are listed as questionable.
“We’ll be fine,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said after Friday’s practice.
Of those four, only Rey and Dennard practiced Friday. Both were listed as limited, although Dennard was only doing rehab work on the side during the portion open to the media after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday.
Rey, who missed the last two games, was a limited participant for all three practices this week.
The dearth of injuries will leave the Bengals thin at running back, linebacker and in the secondary, which makes the overturning of safety George Iloka’s suspension more important.
If Dennard is unable to play, the only available cornerbacks would be William Jackson, KeiVarae Russell and Josh Shaw. And if Wilson can’t go, it would leave the team with just Clayton Fejedelem and Iloka at safety, although Shaw can play there as well.
If the Bengals don’t feel as though Dennard or Wilson will be able to play following Saturday’s walk-through, they would have until 4 p.m. to make a roster move, which likely would be promoting cornerback Tony McRae from the practice squad.
If Rey is unable to go, the only available linebackers would be Kevin Minter and rookies Jordan Evans and Hardy Nickerson.
With Mixon out, Giovani Bernard will make his first start since Week 6 last year, and just his fourth start since 2014. The only other running back on the roster is Brian Hill, an undrafted rookie the Bengals signed off the Atlanta practice squad last month.