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Palmer, Ochocinco miss practice, perceived problems 'untrue'

Quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver Chad Ochocinco were held out of practice Wednesday, just two days after a heated exchange on the sideline during the Cincinnati Bengals' loss to Pittsburgh, but neither is expected to miss Sunday's game at Indianapolis.

And Palmer, who spoke privately with Ochocinco in the locker room after the game, says any perceived problems are nonsense.

"We've been playing together for a long time, and we know how to handle each other," Palmer said Wednesday, according to the *Cincinnati Enquirer*. "Blowups occur. That's part of what we do and part of the way we're built. Communication is number one key. As long as you communicate and don't let things fester or build up or listen to outside rumors or talks. People have painted us to be not friends or not get along or dislike each other and that's not the case at all.

"It wasn't an issue, it's not an issue, and if on TV it looked like it's an issue, it's untrue. Chad and I are competitive and emotional and all the things you want out of a quarterback-receiver combination. Like I said, the main thing you want is communication and talking things out -— what's good, what's bad, what went on and how to move on."

Ochocinco, who sat out with a sore ankle sustained when somebody rolled into him Monday, expressed frustration with his role in Cincinnati's offense, and head coach Marvin Lewis pulled him off the field to cool down during the 27-21 defeat to the Steelers. Ochocinco made just one reception while Terrell Owens had 10 catches and two touchdowns.

Ochocinco said he's put it all behind him.

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"What happened Monday night? It's called communication. It's what people do," he said. "People communicate throughout the game. I can't even remember Monday night. It's Wednesday now. My mindset is on Indianapolis. Carson and I have been doing this for eight, nine years now. Something like that."

Palmer sat out of practice with a sore passing shoulder; Lewis declined to say whether Palmer hurt the shoulder in Monday's game.

Defensive tackle Tank Johnson (knee), defensive end Carlos Dunlap (ill), safety Chris Crocker (calf) and running back Cedric Peerman (ill) also missed practice, and right tackle Andre Smith left early after his foot was "stepped on."

Smith was benched during Monday's loss, which dropped the Bengals to 2-6, but he said is didn't hurt his pride.

The 2009 first-round draft pick, who has endured several setbacks since joining the Bengals -- he missed most of his rookie season with a broken foot -- was pulled off the field after giving up one of the Steelers' four sacks of Palmer. Lewis said Smith, who was starting his third successive game, has "made progress each and every week in the way he plays. That's what we're evaluating: how he's getting it done on Sundays."

"He's gotten better as the year's gone on," Palmer said. "You have to remember, he's still young. He didn't play much last year. This is practically his rookie year. Just a couple of weeks ago, he started for the first time. Like any other young guy, it takes time. But the one thing you want to see is improvement, and he's been improving."

Linebacker Roddick Muckelroy (ankle) also was listed on the Bengals' injury report as a non-participant, but the Enquirer reported that he was at practice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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