Bengals’ Green listed as doubtful for AFC wild card
CINCINNATI — Wide receiver A.J. Green remained out of practice for the Bengals on Friday and is listed as doubtful to play in Sunday’s AFC wild card game at Indianapolis. Green is still under the NFL’s concussion protocol after he suffered a head injury in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s 27-17 loss at Pittsburgh.
Green was scheduled to be examined Friday by a neuropsychologist but head coach Marvin Lewis said after practice that Green’s status had not changed from Thursday. Green was allowed to do some limited physical activity Thursday but had not been cleared for any team practice activities.
"I can’t concern myself about it," said Lewis. "Just when he gets cleared he’ll be out there ready to go, full speed and playing. As soon as he’s cleared."
Players under the concussion protocol must be examined and cleared by an independent neurologist before being allowed to play in a game. They may be cleared by a team neurologist in order to begin physical activities and practice.
The Bengals lost one wide receiver this week to a concussion when Dane Sanzenbacher was placed on injured reserve, while backup James Wright was declared out for this game with a knee injury. Wright has missed the previous four games with the injury. The Bengals signed first-year player Cobi Hamilton from the practice squad this week to take Sanzenbacher’s spot on the 53-man roster. Hamilton (6-2, 197) was a sixth-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2013 and spent all of last season on the practice squad.
Should Green not be able to play Sunday, the Bengals would be left with just three healthy and experienced wide receivers: Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Tate and Greg Little. That trio combined for 22 receptions, 210 yards and one touchdown in the last eight games of the regular season.
Green did not play against Indianapolis when the teams faced each other in October because of a turf toe injury. The Colts won that game 27-0 on a day where the Bengals managed just eight first downs and 135 yards of total offense.
Sanu has 56 catches for 790 yards and five touchdowns for the season, including stepping up his role when Green was hurt earlier in the season. Green’s return and the improvement of the running game have cut back his role in the second half of the season.
"I prepare every game the same way, and when you’re number is called, you’ve got to make the play," said Sanu. "If A.J. plays, that’s great for us. If he doesn’t, I’m just going to play the way I can. That means I’m going to get more targets and I’m going to take advantage of those throws. A.J. and I always have each other’s backs, and when he’s out there, we help each other big time. When he’s not, when he’s there on the sideline, he helps me out big time. That’s what it is and hopefully, we have him for Sunday."
Tight end Jermaine Gresham practiced for the first time this week, although on a limited basis because of a back injury he suffered at Pittsburgh. Gresham is listed as questionable to play Sunday. He is the Bengals’ second-leading receiver in terms of receptions with 62. He also have scored five touchdowns, including one in each of the last two games of the regular season.
Running back Cedric Peerman is also listed as questionable after going through practice on a limited basis Friday. Peerman suffered a concussion against the Steelers and also has a shoulder injury.