Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green underwent ankle surgery Tuesday morning and is expected to miss multiple games.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said the injury proved more extensive than first believed, but the team is hopeful Green will be back early in the regular season.
Green was injured with less than 15 minutes left in the Bengals’ first practice of training camp Saturday at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. He appeared to land on his foot awkwardly while trying to come back on an underthrown pass by Andy Dalton with Dre Kirkpatrick defending the play.
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“There’s a good chance he’s going to miss a couple of games,” Taylor said Tuesday. “We’re hopeful he’s back at the beginning of the season. It was a little more extensive than we initially thought, but we followed the proper protocol and it’s a good thing that they got in there and they found that so he’ll be healthy when that time comes.”
When asked whether he could be ready for Week 1, Taylor said it’s unlikely.
“I hate to put weeks on it,” Taylor said. “I don’t like to make that projection because everybody heals a little bit differently, but we’re ready for him to come back when he feels healthy and ready to go. Hopefully, it’s not more than a couple of games.”
The original diagnosis was an ankle sprain, which still left the possibility of Green playing in the opener; however, an MRI showed he had torn ligaments.
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Green had been limited throughout the offseason workout program as he worked back from December toe surgery, an injury that sidelined him seven games last year. Saturday was his first full practice since before the team’s game Dec. 2 last year, against the Broncos when he tweaked his toe in the middle of a route his first game back from initially injuring it in Week 8 against Tampa Bay.
“Unfortunate for him,” Taylor said. “He’s put a lot in, but as we all know, it could be a lot worse. We’re thankful that it wasn’t a lot worse and he’ll get a chance to still show all the things that he was setting out to do this season. He’s a fighter. Although we feel bad for him, we know that he’s responded well to adversity in the past and this team will rally around him.”
Taylor said he hadn’t yet spoken to Green as of late Tuesday afternoon because the player was “probably a little medicated.”
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The new coach has found himself playing the role of doctor and weatherman in his first week of training camp. The Bengals were expected to hold their first practice in full pads Tuesday but lightning pushed them back two hours, so they held a walk-through in Paul Brown Stadium instead of a regular practice.
Missing a practice so early in camp isn’t ideal, but Taylor said the work will get done regardless, just worked into different days.
“What’s the right stage that you lose a practice and you’re OK with it? I don’t know that there is one,” Taylor said. “We were all excited because we were in pads. Everyone was fired up. We still have the same plan going forward. We’re going to stick with that. But there’s never a good time to lose a practice. It’s just that day.”
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When asked about having to deal with so much adversity early in his time as a head coach, Taylor smiled.
“It’s the best,” he said. “But you know, really this situation right here, how our players respond to it, they’re unbelievable. We just come together as a team when practice is canceled, when guys hurt. It’s all about how we respond going forward. This is just the beginning. It’s just Day 4 of camp. I’m sure more things will be thrown our way and we’re excited to see what those things are.”
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