Parker steps in hole, return uncertain

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Don't be too fast to pronounce Fast Willie Parker ready to return against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Parker, a two-time Pro Bowl running back, did not practice yesterday after aggravating the knee injury that caused him to miss the past two games, creating uncertainty if he will play in Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

Parker, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in his past three games in Paul Brown Stadium, stepped in a hole in practice Monday and aggravated the sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

"Oh, man, I don't know, I don't want to talk about my injury," Parker said. "I'm not going to have any injury update with me. Y'all want an injury update, go talk to coach.

"We'll take it day by day and decide at the end of week."

Parker was planning to return against the Bengals and practiced Monday for the first time since he was injured in the Sept. 21 game in Philadelphia.

At the time of the injury, he was the NFL's third-leading rusher with 283 yards and had scored three touchdowns.

Asked if he felt any differently yesterday than he did Monday about returning against the Bengals, Parker said, "Just a little different, but it ain't my call."

Then he added, "I'm a little frustrated right now."

Parker has averaged 130.3 yards in his past three games in Cincinnati, and the Bengals have the league's 28th-ranked run defense, allowing an average of 156.8 yards per game.

A week after Parker was injured, rookie Rashard Mendenhall sustained a broken scapula and fullback Carey Davis suffered a sprained ankle against the Baltimore Ravens. That forced Mewelde Moore to make his first start in three years, and he responded with 99 yards on 17 carries in Jacksonville.

"I know that's what you all want to know but ... sorry," Parker said about his injury. "But [Tomlin] told me not to talk about it, not even talk to y'all."

Gerry Dulac can be reached at .


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