The Bengals officially ruled cornerback Leon Hall and linebacker Vontaze Burfict out for Thursday night’s nationally televised game against Cleveland at Paul Brown Stadium.
Hall sustained a concussion in last week’s win against Jacksonville, while Burfict is still mending from Oct. 29 arthroscopic knee surgery.
Running back Giovani Bernard (hip/clavicle), linebacker Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and right tackle Andre Smith (ankle) are listed as doubtful. It’s hard to imagine any of them playing.
Defensive end Robert Geathers (shoulder) is questionable, while cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) and Terence Newman (chest), tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee) and right guard Kevin Zeitler (calf) are probable.
Look for Dennard to see his most extensive action of the season on defense with him filling the slot corner role for Hall in addition to his work as gunner on punt coverage.
The Browns will release their injury report later today. They have already said former Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, who has yet to practice this week, will be a game-time decision with a thigh/knee injury. Tight end Jordan Cameron also hasn’t practiced.
If neither can go, that would be a big hit for a team that has struggled to run the ball since two-time center Alex Mack was lost for the season three weeks ago.