Carson Palmer is ready to play.
With his rebuilt knee holding up in practice, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback said Thursday that he will play in the next preseason game, stepping on the field and taking a hit for the first time since his injury in the playoffs seven months ago.
Palmer is expected to start against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, when his left knee will get its biggest test yet.
"I'm going to play," Palmer said Thursday. "Nothing's changed. We set out this date a while back, and everything's been on schedule and I've been fortunate enough to progress from day to day and week to week. So, I'll be out there for the first time this year."
Palmer hasn't talked to coach Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski about how much he will play. He expects to come to a decision in the next couple of days.
BROWNS-BEARS TRADE: The Cleveland Browns, who have had problems at center all training camp, acquired center Lennie Friedman from Chicago for a 2007 conditional draft choice.
Friedman has played in 65 games, including 32 starts at the guard and center positions, in seven seasons with the Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins and Chicago.
COWBOYS: Terrell Owens missed practice again, virtually ensuring he will miss his third consecutive preseason game for Dallas this weekend and might not play until the regular-season opener.
Owens missed 15 of 27 training camp workouts in Oxnard, Calif., and the first two exhibition games before the Cowboys resumed practice at home Wednesday.
Owens said Wednesday he aggravated his left hamstring injury by returning to practice too soon last week. The receiver characterized his injury as a "severe pull" and said he wasn't going to jeopardize his health by rushing back again.
The team also signed former Georgia Tech quarterback/wide receiver Damarius Bilbo.
PANTHERS: Carolina starting outside linebacker Na'il Diggs suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter of Thursday's game against Miami.
Diggs collapsed to the field while playing on special teams during a punt. He stayed on the ground for several minutes before limping off the field with the help of medical personnel.
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