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Giovani Bernard may be out longer than expected; Jeremy Hill set to take over

The Bengals may be ready for Jeremy Hill take over the backfield due to Giovani Bernard's injuries. Bernard may be out longer than anticipated.

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals aren't counting on running back Giovani Bernard being the bell-cow back everyone thought he would be this year. After suffering a shoulder injury and an injured hip in a three-week span, the Bengals reportedly think Bernard could be out longer than originally anticipated, and may be ready for Jeremy Hill take over the backfield.

Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer also believes a 50-50 split between Bernard and Hill is in order if Hill comes up big against the Browns on Thursday Night Football:

I'd have to believe as hard as this team has tried to jumpstart this running game this season, if he drops another 100-plus on the Browns tonight, he will have earned an increase in his reps, particularly on first and second down. I'd imagine something much closer to a 50-50 split should be in order.

We're starting to see why the Bengals actually gave the aging BenJarvus Green-Ellis so many touches early in the 2013 season: They didn't want to wear down Bernard to the point where he was missing time down the stretch of the season.

Now, with a more capable back in Hill, they can give both of them a 50-50 split and not see a drop-off in production, like they saw last year when Green-Ellis spelled Bernard.