Optimism That A.J. Green Will Play Next Week Following Shoulder Sprain Against The Rams

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 18: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals makes a catch against Josh Gordy #38 of the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 18, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Bengals beat the Rams 20-13. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green suffered a "Grade 3 sprain to his right shoulder". A grade three sprain means that the acromioclavicular ligaments (and capsule) and the coracoclavicular ligaments are "disrupted", according to the Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCOI). Green suffered the injury with 3:03 remaining in the second quarter when Andy Dalton did what Andy Dalton typically does, chucking it deep to wherever Green is. During the vertical route on third and 12, Green tripped and landed on his right shoulder. Rod Hood was penalized for defensive pass interference.

Green jogged into the locker room after the training staff initially diagnosed Green's shoulder and his return at the time was questionable. Cincinnati's rookie wide receiver eventually came back in the third quarter, largely as a distraction for Cincinnati's passing offense, offering a few blocks with a limp right arm. Things must have felt better as the quarter continued because Green was targeted four more times in the second half, catching two passes for a combined 21 yards, including a third down conversion on a quick slant with 5:23 remaining in the third quarter.

Though some sources reference a grade three shoulder sprain as a healing process that could take weeks to months, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis offered optimism for next week saying, "I think he'll be OK."

Green posted 115 yards on six receptions Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, falling three yards short of Cris Collinsworth's franchise rookie record of 1,009 yards receiving. It's also his fourth 100-yard receiving game this season.

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