Atkins tore his ACL against the Dolphins on Halloween night last year and missed the remainder of the season. After participating in team drills Wednesday, it became clear to both head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther that Atkins was ready.
Atkins' return means that for the first time this offseason, Guenther will have his entire starting defense available during practices.
“It will be good to have all 11 out there,’ said Guenther. “He did a fair amount. He looked good. Everything is coming along as planned.”
Atkins is not the only Bengal nearing a return to the field. Andre Smith has been battling a concussion, but he expects to be cleared in time to play Sunday.
In other injury notes, Vontaze Burfict and the Bengals agreed to a four-year contract yesterday, but the 23-year-old could not finalize the deal. He left early with a stomach bug.
Backup quarterback Jason Campbell has a bruised arm, but should be able to play this week. The same can be said about wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, who left last week's game against the Jets early with an undisclosed injury.
A few players missed practice Wednesday for Cincinnati, including rookie corner Darqueze Dennard, quarterback Tyler Wilson, wide receiver Marvin Jones, and running back Rex Burkhead.
Burkhead's injury could be serious. Lewis stated the injury was a sore knee, but noted Burkhead would get his brace off in a few days. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com said that it could be an MCL sprain, which can take two to eight weeks to heal.
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