Get ready for some Tez and Ced, Bengals fans.
At long last, the injured duo, Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict and rookie offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, appear to be on the verge of making it back to the football field, according to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.
For Burfict, it will be the first time since this time last season. He is recovering from January micro-fracture knee surgery. Ogbuehi has yet to play in an NFL game after hurting his knee in his final college game, requiring January surgery.
Speaking this week to a national radio audience on Sirius NFL Radio, Lewis sounded upbeat as he spoke about the players turning the corner as they get ready to return to football.
The team's official web site is suggesting that Burfict and Ogbuehi could return to practice as soon as Monday. But Lewis wouldn’t go that far in his interview with Alex Marvez on Sirius. He did term this week's rehab for both players “crucial,” saying that the Bengals theoretically have five weeks to make a call on each player.
"We're not going to rush into anything until we really feel like they're ready,” Lewis told Marvez.
Cincinnati has until Dec. 1 to make a final decision on Burfict's status regarding his stay on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list, and Ogbuehi's stay on the non-football injury list.
The team's site said that, barring a setback this week, "there is sense of optimism that a return for the Nov. 1 game in Pittsburgh was at least still on the table" for both players.
“We're impressed with where they are in the process," Lewis told Marvez. “It's really been good to watch the smiles come on their faces as they see themselves having turned the corner now and getting ready to play NFL football."
Even upon their return, it's unclear how much each player will play. Ogbuehi, with no NFL playing time, is buried on the depth chart, for now. He's expected to be in a reserve role behind starting left tackle and team captain Andrew Whitworth.
Burfict hasn't played in a game for a year. His last day of play was Oct. 26, 2014.