CINCINNATI -- While head coach Marvin Lewis remained rather coy on the subject during the week, the Cincinnati Bengals made it official on Friday that quarterback Andy Dalton will be inactive for Saturday night's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dalton, who fractured his right thumb making a tackle following an interception against the Steelers on Dec. 13, had his cast removed earlier this week. He did participate in practice and worked on gripping the football but did not make any throws.
In addition to Dalton, H-back Ryan Hewitt was declared out with a knee injury. Jake Fisher is expected to make his second straight start in Hewitt's place.
Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday with a knee injury.
Aside from Dalton, Hewitt and Thompson, the Bengals (12-4) enter the postseason as healthy as they have been in weeks with the return of tight end Tyler Eifert and safety George Iloka.
Lewis said earlier this week that Cincinnati has been preparing all along with AJ McCarron as the starting quarterback. The former University of Alabama star will make his fourth straight start. McCarron has yet to throw an interception in three prior starts.
McCarron has passed for 832 yards and six touchdowns while filling in for Dalton as the Bengals went 2-1 in the final three games.
McCarron overcame a slow start and threw a pair of touchdown passes last Sunday, leading the Bengals to a 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.