Palmer stayed behind in New York after a 26-14 loss to the Jets on Sunday to get a second opinion from Dr. David Altchek, who works with the Mets. Palmer was hoping to hear that he can get back on the field quickly for the winless Bengals.
Instead, coach Marvin Lewis said Monday that Palmer will miss a second straight game and his third overall because of the injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick will start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lead the AFC North at 4-1 and are coming off a bye.
"Some further study and scans were done, and what he recommended is a further conservative approach right now," Lewis said. "We'll talk with Carson and see what he feels."
Lewis didn't want to discuss the team's plans for Palmer until he had a chance to talk to the quarterback about the latest findings.
"But I don't think any option's been closed off at this point," Lewis said. "Let's just see what's the best thing. I want to talk with Carson and see where he is. He's texted me a couple of times, but I just want to see what his thoughts are."
The Bengals (0-6) had another woeful day on offense during the loss in New York, which left them with the worst record in the NFL. For the second time this season, their quarterback was their leading rusher: Fitzpatrick scrambled for 23 yards.
Palmer damaged a tendon in his right elbow when his arm was hit while passing during a loss to the Giants on Sept. 21. He finished the game and practiced the next week despite inflammation in the elbow. The Bengals decided to sit him for the next game, a 20-12 loss to Cleveland behind Fitzpatrick.
Palmer returned a week later and went 23-of-39 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 31-22 loss at Dallas. He was limited in practice last week, and the team decided to sit him against the Jets on the advice of the medical staff. Palmer, who is eager to play, decided to get a second opinion from Altchek.
The quarterback has insisted the injury is not season-ending. Doctors have told him the elbow will likely be healed in a few more weeks.
"I was told that it's not going to take much more than a month or two, and it's gotten better every day," Palmer said after the game Sunday.
With Palmer gone, the offense has been stagnant. The Bengals' offense has scored two touchdowns in Fitzpatrick's two starts, his first since he played for the Rams in 2005. It didn't help that the running game was virtually nonexistent in those two games.
Fitzpatrick was the leading rusher against Cleveland, getting 41 yards on four scrambles. The offense managed only 211 yards overall.
It was even worse against the Jets, gaining only 171 yards. The Bengals didn't even get a first down on their first four possessions. Chris Perry carried 11 times for 14 yards overall.
Lewis wants to get running back Cedric Benson more involved once Benson figures out the offense. The Bengals signed Benson as a free agent two weeks ago.
"I think everybody involved is trying really hard to turn over every stone and find every way we can to find a way of how we can block more consistently in the running game, and be more consistent in pass protection," Lewis said. "We are looking at everything we can do, and we will go back and evaluate the things we are doing well in the running game, who we are doing it with."