Report: A.J. Green likely out

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Thursday, October 9, 2014

CINCINNATI -- It doesn't appear Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green will play this Sunday when the Bengals host the Carolina Panthers.

According to a report from NFL Network, the fourth-year receiver isn't expected to play this weekend following a visit to an area foot specialist Thursday morning. Green was getting a second opinion on the foot issue that flared up at the start of Wednesday's practice.

During the open portion of the Bengals' Wednesday practice, and moments after the team finished undergoing stretching and plyometrics, Green walked over to the side of the practice fields and took off his right cleat before throwing it hard to the ground and slamming down his helmet, too. He was clearly frustrated with the injury, which dates back to the season opener in Baltimore.

After speaking briefly with coach Marvin Lewis, Green put his shoe back on and got on a green cart with a trainer, who drove him back across the street and into Paul Brown Stadium for immediate observation. As he rode by reporters standing nearby, Green let out an audible sigh.

Green made it on the injury report later Wednesday with a "great toe" injury. He was listed as having limited practice participation.

Green was around Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday, but he didn't come out to the practice fields when practice was open, and he didn't walk through the locker room while media was allowed inside.

Earlier Thursday morning, during his weekly interview with SiriusXM Radio, Lewis told host Ross Tucker that Green's injury was "a little more than" turf toe. Three weeks ago, Green told reporters in Cincinnati that the issue was "something like turf toe, but not as bad." He played in that Week 3 game against the Titans after playing just six plays the week before.

Lewis also said during his radio interview that Green "doesn't want to be shut down, he wants to play." Lewis added that he would continue evaluating Green's status as the week progressed. The timing of Green's injury couldn't be worse for the Bengals' passing game, though, which has been without its once-projected No. 2 receiver, Marvin Jones, since training camp. Tight end Tyler Eifert also has been on the short-term injured reserve since Week 1.

With Green likely unavailable this week, the Bengals will be forced into turning to other receivers Sunday afternoon.

"We have a lot of guys who can fill the void of A.J. and with Marvin not being there," one of those receivers, Mohamed Sanu, told "They're huge voids, but we've got guys that can play. The whole room is very good, and it's deep, and we know we've got guys who can play ball. So we're going to go out and do our best and execute the way we can."

Sanu, who would move into Green's spot at the No. 1 receiver position, said he won't be placing any added pressure on himself.

"It's football, man," Sanu said. "When one guy falls down, you've got to step up and fill the void.

Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson highlighted rookie James Wright as one receiver whose recent practice habits have earned him more playing time the last few weeks. Wright said that all he has done has been to emulate Green.

"I'm just trying to treat every rep as a game rep and to go as hard as I can go and to always beat the guy opposite from me," Wright said. "A.J. goes hard at practice. That's why it's not surprising that he does what he does in games."

Green just may not be pulling off those heroics in a game this week.

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