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Reports: Bengals P Huber broke a vertebra

The SportsXchange

An arguably illegal hit left Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber with two serious injuries and likely ended his season.

The Bengals announced Sunday that Huber sustained a broken jaw when popped by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin during a first-quarter punt return. Huber was bleeding as he was helped from the field. On Monday, multiple media outlets reported that Huber also sustained a fractured vertebra.

Huber reportedly will be placed on injured reserve. According to ESPN.com, he should be able to return to action next season if his rehab progresses as expected.

Garvin's hit came as Antonio Brown was returning a punt 68 yards for a touchdown that put the Steelers on top 21-0. Pittsburgh went on to win 30-20.

No penalty was called on Garvin, whose helmet contacted Huber's chin. NFL rules define punters as "defenseless players" during a runback, meaning Garvin likely should have been penalized for his hit, wiping out the touchdown.

Huber, 28, is averaging 40.5 yards per punt this year during his fifth season with the Bengals. After he was injured, Cincinnati kicker Mike Nugent took over punting duties Sunday, and he averaged 40 yards on two punts.
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