Before the Cincinnati Bengals even play their first preseason game, they know they’ll be heading into the regular season without their best player.
A.J. Green suffered an ankle injury in practice last week, and the news keeps getting worse. Green had minor surgery on the ankle, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported, though Rapoport said a Week 1 return was still possible.
By Tuesday afternoon, Bengals coach Zac Taylor acknowledged that the team is expecting Green to miss multiple regular-season games.
A.J. Green to miss multiple games
Taylor said Green will miss regular-season games — note that it was plural.
Zac says A.J. Green will miss regular season games. “Hopefully just a couple.”— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonATH) July 30, 2019
When Taylor says “hopefully just a couple,” the only interpretation is that missing two games is a best-case scenario. The team has a Week 4 Monday night game against Pittsburgh, and perhaps that’s a reasonable return date.
No matter what, the Bengals already know their best offensive weapon will miss some time.
Green has missed time in recent seasons
No training camp injury is well-timed, but Green’s seems especially rough.
Taylor is a rookie head coach putting in a new offensive scheme, and one assumes Taylor had built plenty of it around his star wide receiver. Also, Green has dealt with a number of injuries in recent years. He missed six games in 2016 and seven games last season, which ended due to a toe injury that required surgery. Green is still very productive, but health issues have gotten in the way.
Maybe Green has a rapid recovery and beats the timetable for his return. But the Bengals go into the preseason assuming their early regular-season plan has already changed.
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