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No sure thing Andy Dalton plays next week

If the Cincinnati Bengals knock off the Steelers on Saturday night, will Andy Dalton return for the Divisional Round?

Don't bank on it.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that it's no sure thing the Bengals passer plays next week, per sources informed of the situation. Dalton has yet to commence throwing and won't even know if he can practice until Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest.

Rapoport was told that two primary unanswered questions linger for the Bengals and their quarterback: One, how will Dalton's fractured thumb acclimate to throwing? Two, has the bone in his thumb fully healed? Dalton will have to pass a scan before team doctors clear him for practice.

The Bengals starter saw his MVP-level season interrupted when he injured the thumb against the Steelers in Week 14. He hasn't played since, giving way to second-year passer AJ McCarron, who has performed admirably in his first real taste of NFL action.

We'll know more on Dalton next week, but it won't matter a lick unless the Bengals take care of business against the Steelers this evening.

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