Quarterback Carson Palmer, who has started every game for the Cincinnati Bengals this season after recovering from extensive surgery to his left knee in January, sat out Wednesday's practice with a sore right shoulder.
But team officials said the day off was a precaution, with Palmer coming off an especially tough outing in Monday night's loss at Indianapolis, and said he is expected to practice Thursday. A Bengals spokesman insisted there is no structural damage to Palmer's shoulder and, to reflect that, he was listed as "probable" for Sunday's matchup at Denver.
Palmer was on the field, in full pads and with his helmet, for the practice. He did throw on the sidelines but skipped the team segment of practice. A Bengals source said the one-day hiatus from team drills was planned because of the residual soreness after Monday night's game.
In the 34-16 loss to the Colts, Palmer was sacked four times, knocked down on at least six other occasions and was hit several more times.
On the final play of the first half, on which Palmer was sacked by defensive tackle Raheem Brock, the Bengals star got up holding his right shoulder. There were television reports, in fact, that Palmer might have injured his shoulder on the play. But he demonstrated no obvious duress in the second half, neither while warming up before the start of the half nor over the final two quarters.
Palmer acknowledged Tuesday that he performed poorly in the game, completing just 14-of-28 passes for 176 yards and no touchdowns. It marked only the second game this season in which he failed to complete more than 50 percent of his passes, and the 176 yards represented Palmer's season low.
On Wednesday, Palmer characterized his shoulder as "fine" in speaking with local reporters.
The former Southern California star and 2002 Heisman Trophy winner and the first player selected overall in the 2003 draft, Palmer has started 43 of the Bengals' last 46 outings. Since assuming the starting job in 2004, the only games Palmer sat out were the final three contests of the '04 campaign. The severe injury to his left knee, in which he tore two ligaments and suffered ancillary damage as well, came in a division-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh 11 months ago.
For the year, Palmer has completed 283-of-442 passes for 3,575 yards with 24 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions, for a passer rating of 96.9.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.