When All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green went down at training camp in obvious pain, there was reason to worry. After seeing him then carted off to the locker room, there was major concern. An initial X-ray showed no fractures, though, and the Cincinnati Bengals stopped short of panicking -- with an MRI having been scheduled to fully determine Green's status.
It turned out the panic may have been well-founded, though, because tests showed the 30-year-old suffered torn ligaments in his left ankle that required repair and a clean-up. Despite previous indications that Green could possibly have made it back for Week 1, Green has now gone on to miss 25% of the season and still isn't ready to return to the field. As the season rolls along, Green reportedly won't suit up for the next two games, either -- per Adam Schefter of NFL Network -- placing his earliest possible return date at Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the Bengals sitting at 0-3 and facing the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, they'd love to have their top weapon back ASAP.
Cincinnati’s wait for the return of Pro Bowl WR A.J. Green will continue on….and potentially on and on.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 30, 2019
Green will not play Monday night against the Steelers, and he is not expected to play at least the next two weeks, either, against Arizona and at Baltimore, per sources.
Of course, it must be noted it's the Bengals fault they're without Green in the first place.
It would have been great to see Green get as many training camp reps as possible this summer, considering he's working to return from an injury that involved torn ligaments in a toe on his right foot -- one that landed him on injured reserve in 2018. Instead, he was the victim of poor planning by the Bengals in allowing their team to practice at the University of Dayton, and on a field wide receiver Tyler Boyd players openly referred to as "terrible," despite the team itself having given it the green light.
Multiple reports indicate there was concern over field conditions that included pebbles being seen in the grass, but the Bengals practiced on it anyway, and have been without Green ever since.
How this will all come into play during contract negotiations with Green -- who is set to become a free agent after 2019 -- is to be determined. For now, though, he's again working to get healthy in a contract season that's rapidly passing him by.