After throwing three touchdowns in his preseason debut Monday, Palmer was expected to see more action Friday night at Indianapolis. How long remains a secret.
“He'll play some,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.
When asked to elaborate, Lewis responded: “I said some.”
Again, Palmer finds himself the headline attraction in a preseason finale that figures to have most prominent players on the bench after one quarter or perhaps even earlier.
Palmer anticipates joining them after two series.
Among those already listed as out are cornerback Deltha O'Neal, linebacker David Pollack and cornerback Johnathan Joseph, the Bengals top draft pick.
The Colts expect to sit more than a dozen players including cornerbacks Jason David and Nick Harper, safety Mike Doss, defensive tackle Corey Simon, receiver Brandon Stokley, guard Ryan Lilja, tight end Dallas Clark and kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Cincinnati (3-0) learned Monday that Palmer's left knee was healthy enough to play when he methodically dissected the Green Bay secondary, scored on each possession, and showed that his mechanics were in top form.
The performance prompted Lewis to name Palmer the opening-day starter ahead of schedule.
But Palmer, the perfectionist, saw a few problems.
“Definitely rusty,” he said in critiquing the Green Bay game. “I need to get a chance to wear some of that rust off.”
What the Bengals want to know how quickly he can recover after sliding, taking hits and pushing off the knee in which he tore two ligaments and dislocated a kneecap in January.
Friday night's game could erase any lingering doubts.
Whatever the Bengals do, the Colts won't let Palmer's plans affect their strategy.
Coach Tony Dungy again plans to use his starters sparingly but almost anything would be an improvement over last season's preseason finale when he rested the entire starting offense and all but two defensive starters.
The result: Cincinnati 38, Indianapolis 0.