Rey Maualuga hopes to return soon

CINCINNATI -- Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga wore a protective boot on his left ankle Wednesday, an indication he'll be sidelined for a second straight game.

He severely sprained the ankle during practice on Oct. 13 and had to miss a win over Indianapolis. He then had a cast on the ankle heading into the team's bye week.

The cast was removed on Monday, but he's been told to wear the boot for support. He didn't practice Wednesday as the Bengals (4-2) prepared for a game in Seattle.

"They just don't want me to walk around without it, just for safety reasons," Maualuga said. "I'm walking fine, but they just want me to wear it for support and leverage. It may be a week, a couple of days, it may be two weeks, depending on when the coaches give me the go and I get to return to practice."

The best-case scenario has him returning for a game the following week in Tennessee. If the injury lingers any longer, he would miss a pivotal AFC North game in Cincinnati on Nov. 13 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"They say I'm ahead of where I'm supposed to be," Maualuga said. "I expect that from myself. I'm a fast healer. Hopefully I can get up to speed with everything else."

The Bengals are thin at linebacker this week. Outside linebacker Thomas Howard also missed practice with an injured hamstring on Wednesday. Outside linebacker Keith Rivers has yet to play this season because he's recovering from offseason wrist surgery.