Thursday, December 18, 2003

Injuries beginning to catch up with Bengals

Steinbach, Hawkins still questionable

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The left side of the offensive line, guard Eric Steinbach and tackle Levi Jones, were among the players who did not participate fully in Wednesday's practice in Mason.

The Bengals practiced at an indoor soccer complex, Wall2Wall, to get out of the cold, wet weather.

Wide receiver Peter Warrick (knee) also did not practice and is listed as probable on the injury report. Jones, who played this past Sunday, just six days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, also is probable.

Steinbach (thigh) and cornerback Artrell Hawkins (thigh) are listed as questionable.

"The movement, the swelling, the range of motion, it's gotten a lot better," Steinbach said. "If it continues, I'll be in great shape."

In St. Louis, wide receiver Isaac Bruce (ankle) is questionable. Neither he nor running back Marshall Faulk (knee soreness) practiced Wednesday.

PLEA REJECTED: Wide receiver Chad Johnson held up a sign in the end zone Sunday that asked the NFL not to fine him again. Johnson's plea was rejected when the NFL penalized him $10,000 for his premeditated celebration against the 49ers.

Johnson, who is expected to be named today to the AFC Pro Bowl team, was just as upset about the $30,000 fine handed down to New Orleans wide receiver Joe Horn for his cell phone skit on Sunday night.

"Ridiculous," said Johnson, whose season fine total is up to $70,000.

STREAKING: The Bengals will have another chance Sunday to break their winless streak on the road against teams with winning records. It stands at 40 and dates to December 1990. The Rams are 11-3.

GOING BACK: Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese returns this weekend to St. Louis, where he worked for the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the offense.

His former boss, Rams coach Mike Martz, spoke highly of Zampese and Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski.

"It looks like Bob has taken some of Kenny's ideas and implemented them," Martz said. "But Bob has proven his worth many times."

The Bengals are ranked 10th in offensive yards and 11th in points. Their 322 put them on pace to score 368 - the most since the 1996 Bengals scored 372 points.

HO-HO-HO: Right tackle Willie Anderson will play Santa Claus from 6-8 p.m. today at the U.S. Bank Boys and Girls Club in Avondale.

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