CINCINNATI -- One day after placing defensive tackle Geno Atkins and cornerback Leon Hall on the physically unable to perform list, Bengals coaches allayed fears Tuesday that both might end up missing time when training camp begins later this week.
Hall could be medically cleared Wednesday, giving him a chance to come off the active PUP list before Thursday's first training camp practice, coach Marvin Lewis said during a media luncheon at Paul Brown Stadium. As for the two-time Pro Bowler Atkins, the timeline for his return isn't clear, but defensive coordinator Paul Guenther told reporters the lineman would be ready by the season opener Sept. 7 at Baltimore.
"There's a process through the trainers that we put each injured guy through," Guenther said. "It's a step-by-step system that we've got to make him feel comfortable about getting back on the bike and just riding it. He'll be back Week 1 for sure."
Atkins was injured during last season's Week 9 Thursday night game at Miami, tearing an ACL trying to finish a tackle. He was out the rest of the year. Two weeks prior, Hall suffered his own season-ending injury when he tore his right Achilles. It was the second time in three seasons he had such an injury. He tore his left Achilles in 2011 and returned just before the '12 season.
"He's done better this time than last time," Lewis said about Hall's recovery.
So much better, the coach said, that Lewis wouldn't be surprised if Hall plays some of his best football this season.
"His speed became better last time, which is really something," Lewis said. "I thought he played faster in 2012 than he did before. That's what makes this exciting. Maybe anatomically he has something that makes him better."
Along with Atkins and Hall's additions to the active PUP list, the Bengals placed seven others there Monday. On Tuesday, they added offensive lineman Mike Pollak to the list. Pollak suffered a knee injury earlier this offseason. He is hopeful about returning to full health in time for Thursday's first practice as he battles for the starting center job.