Bengals banged up on defense heading into date with Patriots

AP

The Bengals lost to the Browns last week with three of their top defensive backs on the sideline because of injuries.

Things aren’t looking too much better this time around. Safety Reggie Nelson is probable to make his return to the lineup after missing the Cleveland game with a hamstring injury, but cornerback Leon Hall is less likely to be back in the lineup.

Hall is doubtful for Sunday’s contest with his own hamstring injury and is therefore likely to be on the shelf for a second straight week. He did practice on Friday for the first time since getting hurt in Week Three, though, so the light at the end of the tunnel may be in sight. Cornerback Brandon Ghee, who didn’t practice Friday, is also doubtful because of a thigh injury and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is questionable with a hamstring injury.

The defensive injuries aren’t limited to the secondary. Defensive end Michael Johnson is still in the league’s concussion protocol and hasn’t been cleared for action yet. He’s questionable for Sunday.