Vontaze Burfict cleared, practices with Bengals


Is Vontaze Burfict about to make his season debut?

Pro Bowl ballot

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the fourth-year Bengals linebacker received clearance on Wednesday night from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, per a source informed of Burfict's situation. The team later confirmed the move and reported that Burfict practiced for the first time after undergoing offseason surgery on his left knee.

Dr. ElAttrache performed the procedure on Burfict, a microfracture operation that kept the defender on the physically unable to perform list for the first six games of the season.

Clearance opens the door for Burfict to possibly play on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the Bengals facing a quick turnaround to play the Browns on Thursday Night Football in Week 9, we wouldn't be surprised to see Burfict eased in slowly.

Adding 2013's league-leading tackler would serve as a boost for a linebacker room that includes Vincent Rey, Rey Maualuga and A.J. Hawk ahead of Emmanuel Lamur and rookie Paul Dawson.