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Bengals v Colts: Bengals rule out wide receiver A.J. Green

After placing Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green under concussion protocols, the team announced on Saturday that he will not play in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Saturday that wide receiver A.J. Green will not play during Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. Green suffered a concussion with four minutes remaining against the Steelers on a shot delivered by safety Mike Mitchell.

A.J. Green Bengals GIF Steelers concussion

A.J. Green Bengals GIF Steelers concussion

After Green sat during Wednesday's practice, there was a glimmer of hope on Thursday when observers noted his appearance in uniform... He had been cleared to do light work but nothing else. Pessimism returned on Friday when Green wasn't seen working and was eventually listed as doubtful on the final injury report. NFL Network's Kimberly Jones reported Saturday morning that the Bengals were planning as if Green wouldn't play.

According to various reports, Green was scheduled to meet with an neuropsychologist Friday evening and then an independent doctor on Saturday.

With Dane Sanzenbacher placed on season-ending injured reserve and rookie James Wright already ruled out for Sunday, the team's wide receiver roster dramatically flatlines with Brandon Tate, Mohamed Sanu, Cobi Hamilton and Greg Little. All four receivers have combined for eight receptions for 86 yards receiving during the month of December. Hamilton, the team's fourth receiver, hasn't even played a regular season game in his career.

Sanu, the team's leading receiver this Sunday, hasn't been particularly effective during the second half of the season and finished the season leading the league with 14 dropped passes.

Receptions 39 17
Yards 628 162
Targets 65 31
Avg. 16.1 9.5
Touchdowns 4 1

Sanu hasn't caught more than two passes or reached 20 yards receiving during any of the last five games One reason is that Green didn't play in weeks six, seven and eight.

Sanu production v Green participation

Making matters worse is that tight end Jermaine Gresham is a game-time decision with a bad back. And according to John Clayton with ESPN, he's REALLY questionable.

"When they say that Jermaine Gresham is questionable, he really is," Clayton said on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "This one is going to go down to the wire and that will be a game-time decision. They don't know for sure if he's going to be able to play. So now it takes away most of the pass-catching threats. All you have is Mohamed Sanu and a bunch of slot guys and now you're down to your third tight end because Tyler Eifert never came back from his injury."

It would seem logical for Cincinnati to rely on a run-heavy philosophy with so few weapons in the passing game.

Durability has been an issue for Green this season after missing three games earlier this year, and most of a fourth, due to a toe injury -- one of those games was Cincinnati's 27-0 loss to the Colts in Week 7. A hard shot against the Denver Broncos in Week 16 led to a deep bicep bruise and a decoy role for most of that game -- though he was able to play the following week during the regular season finale in Pittsburgh.

Green finished the season with 1,041 yards receiving, six touchdowns on 69 receptions and was named to his fourth pro bowl last week.