It was clear that something was wrong from the start. Seconds into his stretches, prior to Wednesday's practice, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green let out an audible sigh, threw his helmet and then threw his shoe near the helmet. After speaking to trainers, Green was carted off.
It's believed that he aggravated a toe injury that he's been managing since week two and, most likely, he stretched the ligament a bit too much. Of course we're presuming at this stage. An MRI is expected.
Is it serious?
While it could be, the team is putting on a convincing face that it's not THAT serious.
Coming off the field, head coach Marvin Lewis smiled with "we'll see." Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is preparing as if he'll be available. Running back Giovani Bernard, chatting with Carolina reporters on Wednesday, thinks that Green will play.
Green was listed as a limited participant on the team's injury report (if that's all it takes to be limited, maybe we should redefine these terms a little).
Cincinnati's wide receiver depth is problematic right now. The team's No. 2 receiver, Marvin Jones, sat during Wednesday's session after injuring his ankle during practice last week. There's no telling when he'll return. When the Bengals play Carolina this Sunday, Mohamed Sanu, Dane Sanzenbacher, Brandon Tate and James Wright might be their lone receivers. Tyler Eifert is also out until (at least) Nov 6. with a shoulder injury.
Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, guard Mike Pollak and linebacker Vincent Rey also did not practice Wednesday.
However, it's not all bad.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned to practice on Wednesday after sitting out the last two games (and three weeks if we include the bye week) while undergoing concussion protocols. His return couldn't have come sooner with the Bengals defense allowing 369 yards rushing in the past two games.
Offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, out since the first week of the regular season, also returned to practice on Wednesday. The third-year guard injured his calf during Giovani Bernard's second quarter touchdown run against the Baltimore Ravens.