Let's understand something here: Pretending to act as if A.J. Green can, or cannot, play while dealing with a bum toe, isn't that much of a misdirection. The fourth-year receiver has missed the last two games (Carolina and Indianapolis), and all but six snaps against the Atlanta Falcons in week two. For the sake of argument, that's three full games played and 314 yards receiving in those games -- 131 yards against Atlanta, 102 yards against Tennessee and 81 against new England.
It goes without saying that the Baltimore Ravens are preparing for Green, who has burnt Baltimore with significant game-tying and game-winning touchdowns recently, including a super-booming-awesome juggling 77-yarder in week one that gave Cincinnati an eventual win in Baltimore.
"He's playing," Lardarius Webb said earlier this week. "It's a big game. He likes challenges. He's a great receiver. He's going to have to have a broken leg not to come on this field."
Ah, the old "are you a man" challenge. Let's face it... Baltimore is WELL AWARE of Green. If he plays, then Baltimore is prepared for it. If not, then they'll have to deal with the likes of Mohamed Sanu, Dane Sanzenbacher, Brandon Tate, Greg Little and James Wright... none of whom are as fast, quick or athletic as Green. In fact, if Green sits on Sunday (and that's the overall expectation), it will be more of a benefit for Baltimore's defense than what Owen Daniels' absence will do for Cincinnati.
Of course, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is playing coy with the media.
"Each day of this week he’s looked better and better. Today looked like football for him, so that’s good," said Lewis on Friday. "He’s looked good and doing well. We'll see."
Green, who visited with Dr. Anderson in North Carolina last Friday, has missed practice all week, but worked on the rehab field with Nick Cosgray's staff. The official injury report, which Cincinnati submits to the league office, lists Green as doubtful. The team's injury report on their website describes Green as questionable (which we used on our final status report).
Albert Breer with the NFL Network tweets that the team is expecting to go without Green, saying that there's "ligament damage under his big toe. It's lingering, so they'll be careful."
Bengals expecting to go w/o AJ Green vs. Ravens. I'm told issue is ligament damage under his big toe. It's lingering, so they'll be careful.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 25, 2014
"It’s a feel and pain and tolerance thing. That’s what we’re trying to avoid," said Lewis. "We're trying to get over the hump and find the solution other than totally shutting him down for the rest of the season. (A solution) that gets him as much of the season we can get him. I don’t want him to be frustrated by it. I want him to feel good about it. When he tells me he’s ready to go. Guys deal all the time with different circumstances. In his mind, when he’s 100 percent ready to deal with that."