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Bengals' Joe Mixon: Comfort level to determine return

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Four days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee, Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon told reporters Wednesday that he feels "great" and is walking.

Mixon, who is expected to be out between 2-4 weeks, is now going through the recovery process and would like to add another step.

Team trainers, however, thought otherwise.

"I've been trying to run, but they've been restricting me from doing that," Mixon said with a chuckle, via the Bengals' official website. "For the most part, right now just trying to maintain being in shape, just trying to do whatever I can working out, being on the bike, being consistent with showing up and doing rehab and things like that. I mean, just the little things like that with recovery, that's what is going to get me to get back on the field and I'll definitely continue to do that."

Mixon suffered the knee injury in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. While he was in and out of the game, Mixon gutted out 21 carries for 84 yards on 38 offensive snaps.

Now that the second-year pro is rehabilitating, he said the timetable on his return to the lineup is up to him.

"Just me going out there being comfortable cutting and running around to my comfortaability," Mixon told reporters. "I'm sure whenever the time is, that's when you all will catch me out there."

With Mixon on the mend, the Bengals have running backs Giovani Bernard, rookie Mark Walton and Thomas Rawls on the roster. Rawls signed Wednesday with the Bengals after Tra Carson was waived with an injury designation. Mixon's 179 yards rushing through two games leads the team by a wide margin, as Bernard is a distant second with 25 yards.

The main question facing the Bengals in the wake of Mixon's surgery is who steps up to shoulder the load. Head coach Marvin Lewis, however, answered it Thursday morning during a guest appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio that the plan is for Bernard and Walton to "shoulder the load for the next few weeks."

Mixon believes the Bengals are in a good place at the running back position during his absence.

"All of our backs are ready," Mixon told reporters Wednesday. "It ain't like we can't go in and make something happen; that's what we do. I'm very confident in that running back room. I mean, Gio, he knows what to expect, he knows what to do, so I'm not worried at all."

In the meantime, Mixon will focus on his recovery and getting comfortable.

If he's ready by the early part of the projected timetable, the Bengals might have him back in time for Week 5's matchup against the Miami Dolphins. The Bengals' opponents after the Dolphins are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, followed by a Week 9 bye.

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