Injured Bengals WR Marvin Jones is 'close'

CINCINNATI -- Marvin Jones has a message for Cincinnati Bengals fans who are worried about his injury status.

Don't worry.

"I'm close," Jones said Saturday, smiling.

How close? Well, naturally the third-year receiver isn't disclosing that information just yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's in pads some time next week.

While his teammates have been going through full practices the last week and a half, Jones has been on the rehab island, a corner of a third practice field. He has been catching passes and working on a few position-specific drills to get himself back to a point where he feels he can comfortably play again regularly.

He was first listed on the active non-football injury list two days before camp started with an ankle injury that's bugged him some this offseason. He's been trying to get it all the way back to 100 percent. It's a matter of him wanting to make it all the way through the season healthy, instead of just starting it almost healthy. Still, that doesn't mean he isn't a little frustrated that he's had to miss time so far.

"It's always tough when everything starts up and you see your boys out there running around," Jones said. "You wish you could be there, but in due time. It's just tough standing out there on the sideline and just ... standing. You want to be active and get out there."

Jones' absence has been a bit of a blessing for Mohamed Sanu, who has worked into the No. 2 receiver role that Jones is expected to occupy when he returns. Sanu has done just about everything so far this camp. He's caught passes, thrown passes and ran the football both as a receiver coming off reverses and as a Wildcat quarterback. He's made a few spectacular catches through the first eight practices, too, including a one-handed grab that caught attention earlier this week. A case could be made that if such things existed, he would be among the choices for offensive MVP so far this camp.

Asked about how he's noticed Sanu take advantage of the opportunities he has received due to Jones' injury, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson offered his praises.

"I can't talk about Marvin because he's not here," Jackson said. "I know what Mo Sanu's doing and he's playing his tail off. The sky's the limit for him."

Jones is confident he'll eventually ease seamlessly back into the offense.

From his perch on the sideline, Jones has seen where Jackson's schematic tweaks and emphasis on having an aggressive mindset are beginning to take shape.

"Offense looks great. Everybody's tuned in. Everybody's finishing," Jones said. "It's just the attitude and all that. To get to step back and go on the sidelines and really look at everything and see how the whole team is flying to the ball, it's a really good feeling."