Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) fumbles the ball under pressure from New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
After reports that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was carted off the field with an aggravated toe injury at the beginning of practice yesterday, local media and Bengals fans feared the worse in terms of Green’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. That scenario has come to pass, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that Green is not likely to play Sunday:
Coming off a disappointing showing in New England against the Patriots, the Bengals need a strong bounce-back to stay in the AFC North driver’s seat, and losing Green will be difficult to overcome. Even with the toe issue lingering from training camp into the season, Green has been Cincinnati’s leading receiver. His absence will put more of an onus on Mohamed Sanu and running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill.
The Panthers’ mediocre and banged-up secondary may give Bengals quarterback a little margin for error that he wouldn’t have against, say, the Seattle Seahawks. With Green out of the picture, maligned return man Ben Tate may get a reprieve, and rookie James Wright might finally get a couple of targets.
It seems, too, that the Bengals may be preparing for a more extended absence for their standout wideout:
The Bengals can likely survive against the Panthers without Green, but losing him for a longer stretch could put a hurt on their season record and playoff slot.