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George Iloka and Margus Hunt to return when "ready"

Two young defensive players for the Bengals sat out Tuesday's OTA session and it's not totally clear when they will be returning to the practice field.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Organized Team Activities (OTAs) are known as the ramp-up to NFL training camps. While they may not be as rigorous as some of those July and August practices, it's a tune up for players to begin to get into "football shape" and get refreshers. If anything, it's the first time that guys may have seen each other since the end of the previous season.

The early storyline of of the Bengals' OTAs is that of injury and rehabilitation. Some players are returning, like wide receiver Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert, both of whom missed virtually all of 2014. Others are nursing injuries that may have been sustained in prior workouts, as we mentioned Tuesday morning is the case for safety George Iloka and defensive end Margus Hunt.

Hunt's injury hasn't been disclosed, but second-year man Will Clarke has impressed thus far in practices. Initial reports said Hunt may miss all of the spring OTAs, and as more time passes, that seems to be holding true. Iloka's injury doesn't seem very serious, but like Hunt, his hasn't been fully made public either.

When asked about the status of the two after sitting out on Tuesday, head coach Marvin Lewis succinctly said that they would "be out there when they're ready" and that Hunt "should be fine" to return for the start of Training Camp. Call it Lewis channeling his inner Bill Belichick.

Iloka had a breakout year of sorts in 2014, gaining the starting safety job opposite Reggie Nelson and grabbing three interceptions. Iloka is likely one of the players the Bengals would like to lock up long-term, but they might need to see another good season in 2015, similar to what he had last year.

Hunt has yet to find his way, living up to the "project player" bill that came when he was drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft. With Clarke emerging and the return of Michael Johnson, Hunt might have an uphill climb to get playing time or even make the roster this year.