CINCINNATI -- Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said that defensive tackle Brandon Thompson will return to practice next week after spending the first 11 weeks of the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Week 11 is the last week teams can bring a player on PUP back to practice.
Once Thompson returns to practice, the Bengals have a three-week window to put him on the active roster, revert him back to injured reserve or release him outright.
Thompson tore his ACL last season and was placed on IR last January. He has been with the Bengals since 2012, mostly as a reserve, but saw most of his playing time in 2013 when Geno Atkins was hurt. He played in nine regular-season games last season with no starts.
While the Bengals have to make a decision on Thompson now, they don't have to do anything yet with their two players on IR -- cornerback William Jackson III and running back Cedric Peerman. Jackson tore his pectoral muscle in August, while Peerman fractured his forearm during a preseason game in August.
While Peerman's return would be a boost to the Bengals' special teams unit, bringing back Jackson, the Bengals' 2016 first-round pick would allow them to salvage some of his rookie season. Peerman was a Pro Bowler last season and is a former special teams captain.
Both are essentially healthy, so it would be a matter of preference and need for the Bengals, who are only allowed to bring back one player from IR.
"They're basically fine," Lewis said. ""You try not to play your hand until you have to."
He added: "Obviously the first-round pick is an asset, and you want to get him involved. We've had him all year since he's been back from Houston and since the surgery, so to keep him invested in the football team. Ced, what he means to the football team. ... and then Brandon, he's been a contributor. So ... two of the three guys have contributed and one we're looking for contributions.