A couple of seasons back, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was shut down for the season after dealing with an injury. Not shut down because of the injury—he said he felt as though he was able to return—but shut down from the higher ups, namely owner Mike Brown, who didn’t want to risk a reaggravation during a season that was already lost.
This year, in spite of the fact that the Bengals let the 2018 season slip away, Green vowed that that would not happen again, or at least that he would be really upset about it. Cincinnati got off to a 4-1 start but have only won one game since, now 5-7 on the season and 5-6 heading into Sunday’s game.
That was after losing three straight games that Green missed, finally returning as he worked his way back from a toe injury. He wanted to be out there to help out his teammates and to play for the team he cares about. Only it didn’t take long for him to reaggravate that toe injury.
And now it sounds like his season is really over. The Bengals are expected to place him on injured reserve, and he likely also faces surgery to repair his toe, which will require a months-long recovery. The team’s injured reserve list is beginning to look like their starting lineup at this point, as well.
Joining Green already on injured reserve are quarterback Andy Dalton, tight ends Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft, tackle Jake Fisher, linebacker Preston Brown, and edge defender Carl Lawson. Those are just the bigger names of the 15 now or soon to be on injured reserve.
Green will finish his eighth season having officially played in and started nine games, though he hardly got to play in the ninth, so he was essentially limited to half a season. He recorded 46 receptions for 694 yards and six touchdowns, having been on pace for one of his best seasons.
He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons, but he will surely miss it this time around given his injuries. He had never before finished a season with fewer than 65 catches, 964 yards, or six touchdowns (in the case of the latter, with the exception of the 2016 season in which he was limited to only 10 games, when he had four touchdowns. It was also his only season in which he failed to record 1000 receiving yards up to now).
Without Green, the Bengals have had to make do primarily with Tyler Boyd, the former second-round pick who in his third season is about to have his first 1000-yard campaign. He has 938 yards and six touchdowns. Their second-leading wide receiver outside of Green is second-year John Ross with just 189 yards, but with five touchdowns.