A.J. Green will miss Sunday’s playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, with lingering effects of a concussion sidelining the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
Green’s injury status was in flux during the week, and he was initially listed as doubtful on Friday’s report before the team downgraded him to not playing. The Bengals receiver had been following the league’s concussion protocol, visiting with independent physicians to assess his injury.
A.J. Green took a hit to the head in the team’s season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Safety Mike Mitchell hit Green hard after a first-down pass in the fourth quarter, forcing Green to fumble.
With Green out, the Bengals will likely turn to rookie running back Jeremy Hill to shoulder a bulk of the offense. Green emerged as a valuable weapon in recent weeks, overtaking second-year back Giovanni Bernard on the depth chart.
The Bengals have reached the playoffs each of the last four years, but have been unable to make it past wild card weekend. Green’s struggles have played a large role in that.
“Want to know one reason it might not be so bad for the Bengals if Green misses this game? These numbers: 13 catches, 32 targets, 161 yards, no touchdowns. That’s Green’s stat line in three postseason losses,” wrote Bengals reporter Coley Harvey in an ESPN preview. “Though the quarterback is a very big part of any team’s playoff success, he isn’t the only part. If Dalton is passing to his superstar receiver, Green has to do a better job catching passes and scoring than that.”
But Green has been a valuable player nonetheless. He finished the year with 69 receptions for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns, making him one of only three receivers with 1,000-yard seasons each year since 2011.
Several other Bengals players saw limited action at practice during the week, after the team was hit with a widespread case of the flu.
The Bengals will kick off against the Colts at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday.