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Burfict travels west to get knee examined

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CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Enquirer confirmed through league sources that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict traveled Tuesday to California to meet with his knee surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Burfict did not return to full practice this week thus extending his stint on the physically unable to perform list. The Bengals linebacker worked out Monday in a T-shirt and shorts. The goal was for Burfict to return for this Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, but that won’t happen. A Pro Bowler in 2013, Burfict appeared in just five games last season, missing two games due to a concussion before being placed on injured reserve in December with a knee injury.

“Obviously it’s just like anybody else,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s like coming into training camp. You’re not going to be in football shape right away, so you can’t play a whole bunch of snaps right away. We’ll have to ease him into it when he gets back.”

Burfict led the team with 204 tackles in 2013 along with three sacks and an interception.

–The Bengals believed the bye week came at a good time for them despite putting the brakes on the momentum they’d built during a 6-0 start.

“It’s not like we don’t think 6-0 is great, but you have to keep getting better every week,” said left tackle Andrew Whitworth. “This is like coming out for the second half and it’s a tie ballgame or you have the lead. You have to win the second half. It’s a clean slate. These last 10 games, how well can you play.”

–One of Sunday’s biggest storylines will be how well Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plays in his first game back following a knee injury. The Bengals’ defense is preparing as if Roethlisberger will be at full speed on Sunday. In his career, Roethlisberger is 17-6 against Cincinnati. But his individual numbers are even more staggering. He has an 89.4 passer rating in 23 career games against the Bengals (including postseason) with 441 completions over 694 pass attempts for 5,259 yards (228.6 yards per game) with 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Notes: Defensive end Michael Johnson participated in practice this week following the bye week. He left the October 18 game at Buffalo in the fourth quarter with a leg injury after recording four tackles and a quarterback hit. Through six weeks, Johnson had 16 tackles and one sack. … Linebacker Vincent Rey practiced this week following the bye week. He was carted off the field with an ankle injury during the October 18 game at Buffalo. He later returned to the sideline in uniform and under his own power but did not reenter the game. Rey leads the team with 57 tackles including 35 solo and an interception. … Cornerback Leon Hall practiced this week following the bye week. He was inactive for the Bengals’ last game with a back injury. Darqueze Dennard started in his place. Hall has 13 tackles this season.


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