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Bengals designate Sam Hubbard to return from IR

Hubbard has been recovering from an elbow injury.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals could be getting some help on defense this week. On Tuesday, the team cleared defensive end Sam Hubbard to return to practice by designating him for return from the injured reserve list.

Hubbard, who has been on IR since Oct. 15, has been recovering from an elbow injury suffered in Game 5 at Baltimore. He’s missed three games since then.

Today starts a 21-day period during which Hubbard may practice with the team without counting against the 53-player active roster. He is eligible to be activated to the roster at any time during that period.

Hubbard has played in five games (all starts) this season while recording 23 tackles and a sack. He currently sports a 59.6 Pro Football Focus grade.

With Carlos Dunlap now in Seattle, Hubbard figures to still have a major role in this defense whenever he returns. Hopefully, that begins this Sunday when the Bengals face the 8-0 Steelers in Pittsburgh.