Bengals left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) could be a game-time decision when Cincinnati visits Chicago in Sunday's season opener.
The eight-year veteran told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he believed he'd be listed as "doubtful" when the Bengals' final injury report gets announced.
"I'm really close, but it's out of my hands now," Whitworth said.
The 2006 Bengals draft pick suffered the knee injury last October, and continued to play through it before undergoing surgery early this offseason to repair it. Since arriving for preseason camp, Whitworth has been exercising patience with the knee, trying not to push it until he and trainers felt he was fully recovered.
He's almost there, but hasn't arrived just yet.
Coach Marvin Lewis expressed more optimism than Whitworth when he met with reporters in a news conference later in the day.
"We’ll see how he does this week," Lewis said. "He’s been progressing to do more and more on the field. That’s what we’re looking for. Both he and the medical people have a confidence about him that he’s ready to go. We’re getting closer and closer to that."
If Whitworth doesn't play, Cincinnati will start backup Anthony Collins in his place. The sixth-year vet out of Kansas appeared in five games last season and relieved Whitworth this preseason. After switching from the right tackle position to the left tackle late in the preseason, the Bengals are confident he could fill Whitworth's shoes well.
"He’s done a good job," Lewis said of Collins. "That’s why he’s here; to be kind of that big, big umbrella policy. That’s what he is. He responded all the time. If he goes out there, he’ll have big challenges, but he’ll be playing offensive tackle in the NFL."
Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled for more on Whitworth.
Here's the rest of the Bengals' latest injury report, released just after Wednesday's workout:
Limited Participation in Practice: DT Devon Still (knee)