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Marvin Jones optimistically hints that he'll be ready soon

Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Jones plays coy with the media when they ask if he'll be ready by everyone's week five target when the Bengals head to New England for an important conference game.

John Grieshop

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones is close.

Very close.

Cincinnati's No. 2 wide receiver won't play this weekend when the Bengals host Tennessee in an epic duel between two quarterbacks taken during the 2011 NFL draft. However, the thinking is that he could return for the team's mega-important week five conference game against the Patriots in New England.

"We'll see," says a "coy" Jones (via ESPN) when reflecting on everyone's projected timeframe. The NFL and their teams protect information more than the CIA, KGB and Mossad combined. Either that or there's a genuine uncertainty, despite Jones conducting sprints during pregame warmups against the Atlanta Falcons. No, I don't buy the uncertainty bit either.

Writes Coley Harvey with ESPN:

It was the same reply he had when asked when he thought he would return to practice for the first time since suffering the injury during a preseason practice inside Paul Brown Stadium. For now, Jones contends he doesn't know when the training staff will clear him to resume normal practice activity. If he's going to make it back in time for the game at New England, as previous reports indicated, he likely will need to return at some point next week when the Bengals go through a short practice week ahead of their bye. It's worth pointing out that Jones has been participating recently in certain activities that test his conditioning and boost his speed.

Jones, a former fifth-rounder from the 2012 NFL draft, set career highs in receptions (51), yards receiving (712) and touchdowns (10) last season. In addition to those career marks, Jones and A.J. Green became the first wide receiver tandem to score double-digit touchdowns in franchise history.

Yet, it's been a rough season for him.

While working with Andy Dalton over the offseason, Jones tweaked an ankle and was forced onto the team's Non-Football Injury List to start training camp. Within a few days, he was practicing but then suffered a broken foot. Jones underwent a procedure inserted a screw into his fifth metatarsal.