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Hue Jackson will ease Giovani Bernard into the lineup

When asked about Jeremy Hill having more touches due to his recent production, Hue Jackson said that "he deserves it", while adding that Giovani Bernard will be eased into the lineup.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard was a limited participant during Wednesday's practice, indicating that his return could happen as soon as this weekend against the Houston Texans. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson "indicated" that the team will "ease" Bernard, who has missed three games with injuries to the hip and clavicle, "back into the lineup".

In the meantime, Jackson won't just take advantage of Jeremy Hill's production, but he intends to increase his number of touches.

"He deserves it," Jackson said via "With Gio just coming back, it's going to be hard for me to just thrust him in there and let him go again. I think we have to work him into our process. What will determine that is just how fast and how ready he is to go."

In the three games that Bernard has missed, Hill has posted 361 yards rushing on 63 carries for a 5.7 yard/rush average -- that's 120.3 yards/game with two 150-yard performances in the last three games. Hill joined Paul Robinson as the only rookies to generate 150 yards or more rushing twice during their rookie seasons in franchise history.