When A.J. Green visited Dr. Robert Anderson for a checkup on his injured ankle, he was first and foremost looking for positive news regarding his future rather than his present. That appears to be what Green received.
Green told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com that he is “probably not” going to play in the Bengals’ final two games of the season, but he will be able to have a full offseason workout program that his ankle injury won’t hinder.
“I feel good just getting confirmation from him. Knowing there’s no effect on my future,” Green said. “I never thought it would be that bad that I could never play at a high level. Just hearing him saying it made me feel a lot better.”
The healing process for Green turned out to be much longer than Cincinnati anticipated, which is why Green never found himself on the Reserve/Injured list this season. When he felt like he could return after the bye week and further swelling started back up, he immediately returned to the rehab field, making that one practice in early November the only time he was close to playing in a game.
But progress is progress, even it’s not the kind that fans wanted to see. Green and Anderson have each seen it.
“It’s finally turned the corner. It’s been feeling better and better each week,” Green said. “There were no setbacks. The plan was to go up there (to meet Anderson). He liked the way it looked. He said it’s only a matter of time. It’s not (ready) to play a game, but he was like, it’s a good thing I didn’t rush this thing.”
That Green is presumably going to be healthy for the entire offseason bodes well for whichever team signs him in free agency. Not playing at all this year has surely taken a hit on Green’s value at 31 years of age, but re-injuring his ankle would’ve diminished it even further. Not once was Green going to play in a contract year unless his ankle was fully healed, and the organization understood that.
“Nobody ever pushed me. I’ve felt no pressure to come back and play,” Green said. “But you know this is a business. You never know. This could be my last big deal. I have to make sure everything is right and then we go from there. But I’ll be ready to go.”
The Bengals don’t need Green for 2019 anymore, but both sides will want to find a way to make a 2020 partnership and beyond happen. This news will help make that a reality.