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Updates on Mike Hilton and DJ Reader

Cincinnati expects to have both on the field this week.

The back half of the Cincinnati Bengals’ season begins this week, and the defense is set regain two of its best players.

DJ Reader was cleared to practice Monday by the team. He’s been on the Reserve/Injured list for six weeks due to a knee injury, and head coach Zac Taylor remains optimistic that his nose tackle will be able to play this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Reader spoke to the media for the first time since the injury and revealed he tore his MCL in two places. Thankfully, the 28-year old didn’t need surgery and was able to heal appropriately in due time.

Reader’s status will have to be confirmed later this week after he gets through the required practices leading up to Sunday. Mike Hilton, on the other hand, confirmed to reporters that he will indeed play in Pittsburgh. Hilton suffered fractures in his pinkie finger during the team’s Week 8 game against the Cleveland Browns and missed Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers.

If all goes to plan, Reader and Hilton will rejoin the starters to face the Steelers. Cam Taylor-Britt would be the only new starter who didn’t play in the team’s Week 1 loss to Pittsburgh.