The Bengals’ late-season surge may be getting an added boost soon with the impending return of A.J. Green.
During his Monday press conference, head coach Marvin Lewis said Green expects to resume practicing on Wednesday as the team prepares for their Week 15 matchup with the Steelers. Lewis added that Green’s chances of playing are “partly sunny,” which indicates there’s a decent chance the All-Pro receiver will be active against Pittsburgh.
It’s great news that Green thinks he’s ready to practice and possibly return to game action, but the Bengals will be very cautious with their franchise receiver as there is little to play for other than pride at this point. The Bengals will need the Ravens (other than their game vs Pittsburgh) and the Steelers to lose out for the AFC North title. Or, they’ll need the Dolphins and Broncos to lose out for a Wild Card spot, in order to earn a playoff spot, and that’s assuming teams like the Titans and Colts don’t win out as well. And of course, the Bengals would need to win out in all scenarios to have any chance of making the playoffs. Five Thirty Eight gives the Bengals less than a one percent chance to make the playoffs.
So bringing Green back when he’s not fully recovered from his hamstring strain would be very unwise. Then again, he suffered the injury back in Week 11, which has sidelined him for the past three games, so it’s possible the injury is healed now. He’s been working on the rehab field for the past few weeks but has yet to practice since prior to Week 11’s matchup with the Bills.
The Bengals have been holding out hope that Green could return this season. He has 66 catches for 964 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games this season.
Even if Green doesn’t play this week, this latest update bodes well for him playing again this season, whether it’s in Week 16 against the Texans or in Week 17 against the Ravens.