Vontaze Burfict Returns to Practice

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Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Vontaze Burfict is back.

We speculated that Burfict could return soon just last week, and he’s finally on the field once again.

The Pro Bowl linebacker was finally cleared to practice by his surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache and returned to practice on Thursday. The news was first reported by Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

However, the clock is now ticking; Marvin Lewis and the Bengals will have a tough decision to make in regards to whether or not they should activate Burfict and/or Cedric Ogbuehi if Burfict isn’t completely healthy.

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The staff will have 21 days to determine whether or not Burfict and Ogbuehi are healthy enough to be activated. If not, one or both of the players will return to Injured Reserve for the season.

Burfict will still have a long way to go before playing, but he has gotten clearance from the medical staff and from the team to return to action. Those are the first two steps of the process.

The next step: Marvin Lewis has to determine whether Burfict will be ready-to-go for this Sunday’s crucial game in Pittsburgh. Burfict likely won’t be healthy enough to play, but he could still surprise.

Odds are, the Bengals will keep Burfict in the lineup. He’s too valuable of a player to leave on Injured Reserve if he’s anywhere close to ready to play. With Burfict expected to be back, the next questions become when the Bengals will activate Burfict into their lineup, whether Ogbuehi will work his way back into the lineup and who the Bengals will drop from the 53-man roster to make room for one or both of these players.

Next: Bengals: 5 Must-Win Games After the Bye

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