(Reuters) - Quarterback Andy Dalton, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has been ruled out by the Cincinnati Bengals for Saturday's wild card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the National Football League (NFL) team said on Friday.
Dalton, who broke the right thumb on his throwing hand while making a tackle during a Dec. 13 game against the Steelers, will be replaced by AJ McCarron.
It will be the first time in his five-year career that Dalton, 28, has been ruled out of a wild card game, even though head coach Marvin Lewis had hinted earlier this week the quarterback could still play a backup role.
"Andy continues to progress well, he's doing just what he's supposed to do," Lewis told reporters on Wednesday.
"We're preparing for AJ McCarron to be the starting quarterback. Whether Andy is the backup or where he is, we'll know down the line."
Dalton had the cast removed from his thumb on Wednesday and threw a pass for the first time since the injury, but with his left hand.
On Friday, the Bengals said that Keith Wenning would back up McCarron, the former Alabama standout.
McCarron, who threw a pair of touchdown passes while leading the Bengals to a 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in their regular season finale, will be making his fourth NFL career start, all in place of Dalton this season.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine