BenJarvus Green-Ellis practices

  • ESPN.com news services | January 2, 2013

Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis returned to practice Wednesday after missing Sunday's regular-season finale and sitting out Tuesday's workout with a sore hamstring, according to the team's website.

Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden expressed optimism Tuesday that Green-Ellis would be fine. Green-Ellis injured his hamstring in pregame warm-ups Sunday and didn't play, leaving Cincinnati with questions about its top runner heading into a playoff game Saturday at Houston.

Without Green-Ellis, Cincinnati managed 47 yards on 21 carries, a 2.2-yard average against the Ravens on Sunday. Green-Ellis has been key to the Bengals' offense in the second half of the season, gaining 100 yards in four of his past six games.

The Bengals couldn't run the ball consistently at the start of the season with three new players in the middle of the line. Once they settled in and Green-Ellis got going, the Bengals started winning. They ran for more than 100 yards in five consecutive games, helping Cincinnati win seven of its last eight overall.

Green-Ellis ran for 1,094 yards during the season on 278 carries.  Cedric Peerman was second with 258 yards on 36 carries.

Durability was a concern when the Bengals signed Green-Ellis in the offseason. He never carried the ball more than 229 times in a season in four years with the Patriots. 

Information from ESPN.com AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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