- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- Bengals cornerback Leon Hall said Monday that he continues to feel confident in his rehab from last October's season-ending Achilles tear, and that he believes he's on pace to make a full return by the start of training camp.
"Ever since I was able to get out of the cast and start rehabbing, we've kind of taken that approach to it," Hall said about his targeted return. "When I get to training camp, everything in between was to make sure not only that my Achilles is ready but that the rest of my body was conditioned. The last thing I want to do is go in there and be a step behind some other guys as far as conditioning or how they are physically."
Hall may not have to worry about that happening. He said he has already been cleared to participate in all athletic activity, including running and cutting and turning on his feet. He's not cleared to put on pads just yet, but he's getting closer.
"I feel pretty comfortable pretty much doing anything, whether it's straight ahead, lateral-type stuff, jumping, landing," he said. "I'm pretty good to go with almost everything."
Hall added that he hasn't had any complications or setbacks with his injury, suffered Oct. 20 at Detroit. "Everything is looking pretty good," he said.
On the play he was injured, Hall tried to jump in the corner of the end zone as he covered Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. The much taller Johnson was going up for a goal-line pass from Matthew Stafford that ultimately fell incomplete because of Hall's tight coverage. Immediately after the play, though, Hall went to the turf and grabbed his lower right leg. After walking gingerly to the sideline, a visibly frustrated Hall sat on a Gatorade cooler.
"It seems like so long ago, but it was definitely an emotional day," said Hall, a former standout at Michigan. "I had a lot of family members at the game."
It was the second Achilles injury of his career. After having been through a left Achilles tear, he had an idea during this rehab process of what to expect.
"It's the same injury but you have to try to keep them separated," Hall said. "Just because I was doing something with my left foot doesn't mean I have to be doing it with my right foot at a certain amount of time of the rehab or whatever it may be. And vice versa. There is rehab I did two years ago that I haven't done, as far as exercises, just because I really didn't need to. The same thing with the right one."
Along with Hall, the Bengals are hopeful that defensive tackle Geno Atkins will be recovered from an ACL injury in time for the July 23 start of camp. Offensive guard Clint Boling also had an ACL injury last season, but he has a slower recovery time than Atkins simply because his injury came later in the 2013 season. He, too, is optimistic about a preseason return.
13hBy Ian O'Connor