Bengals' A.J. Green Reportedly Wants to Return from Ankle Injury for Final Games

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2019

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22:  A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on September 22, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo beats Cincinnati 21 to 17.  (Photo by Timothy T. Ludwig/Getty Images)
Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Despite having yet to appear in a game this season, there is reportedly a chance that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green will be in the lineup for the final two games of the 2019 campaign.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Green has looked good in practice of late, and the Bengals have not ruled out playing him in Weeks 16 and 17. Green reportedly wants to play as well.

Green suffered an ankle injury during a preseason game in July, an ailment that had an initial recovery timetable of six to eight weeks. He has yet to return, though, and with the Bengals sitting at an NFL-worst 1-12, there has been doubt about whether he will play at all this season.

The 31-year-old wideout has already been ruled out for this week's game against the New England Patriots, but Rapoport's report suggests there is a chance he could play next week against against the Miami Dolphins and the following week against the Cleveland Browns.

As Cincinnati got off to an 0-7 start to the season, Adam Schefter reported Green was not expected to return to the field until after the Oct. 29 trade deadline. Meanwhile, the seven-time Pro Bowler himself made it clear the team's record would not influence his return.

"Everybody knows what type of guy I am," Green said Oct. 20, per ESPN's Ben Baby. "I'm not going to fake anything. I'm not going to milk anything. When I'm ready to play, you know it's time for me to go. It doesn't matter what the record [is]. Nobody can hold me back when it's time to play."

It's no coincidence that Cincinnati struggles when Green is sidelined. The 2011 fourth overall pick began his career with six 1,000-yard seasons in his first seven years, narrowly missing the feat when he recorded 964 yards in 10 games in 2016.

He has averaged 80.2 yards per game for his career with 63 touchdowns in eight seasons, making him one of the most productive receivers in his era.

With Green out, the Bengals have leaned heavily on Tyler Boyd as the No. 1 wideout, and John Ross recently returned from injury to assume the No. 2 role as well.

Since Green is in the final year of his contract, it stands to reason that Weeks 16 and 17 could represent his final opportunities to see game action as a member of the Bengals.