NFL

Could A.J. Green Be Back Soon?

Many people assumed the worst when A.J. Green suffered an ankle injury during the first day of training camp, but could he be recovering quicker than anybody imagined?

Recent events had people thinking that a comeback could be soon. However, as with any injury, Green and the Bengals must make sure that he is ready before he takes the field again or the long-term effects could prove to be a much bigger setback for his recovery.

A.J. Green’s career

Over his first seven seasons, Green was a perennial Pro-Bowler thanks to his innate ability to catch nearly any catch that was thrown his way. He began his career with over 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, and he only got better until then. He also did so while remaining relatively healthy, missing only four games through his first five seasons. 

However, Green has missed 15 games over his last three seasons, although he did play in every game during his 2017 campaign. To date, Green has just shy of 9,000 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns, and if he could come back to the Bengals offense, he could prove to be vital for their season-long success. 

A.J. Green’s injury

Green’s injury occurred during the opening moments of the Bengals’ training camp, and while it was initially believed to be an ankle sprain, an MRI revealed that the injury was worse than they expected. It turned out that Green had ligament damage and was believed to be out 6-8 weeks. The injury may have been a result of a Dayton practice field that players believed to be sub-par, but whatever the reason, the Bengals missed their star wide receiver. 

A.J. Green helps supply the Bengals locker room with veteran leadership to go along with his skill, and his absence leaves a gaping hole in their offense. By missing training camp, he also has to make sure he is in-game shape by the time he does take the field, so recovery could take some time. However, Bengals fans may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Hope?

Green was seen walking without a walking boot — always a good sign for concerned fans. However, Green did ensure that he is not going to rush out there. He is working on treadmills, and while he doesn’t have a timetable, things are looking up. Now 30, Green has to think not only about his current season but his future in the NFL as he thinks about his injuries. 

“Just making sure I don’t come back too soon and hurt it again,” Green said (per ProFootballTalk).

Green is in a contract year, so his ability to come back strong could dictate how much money he gets during the upcoming season. Green, however, is not letting the setback ruin his mindset going into this important season. 

“I’m sick of being hurt,” Green told Bengals.com “Just hard to deal with these last two years. But like I said, just go with the punches, take the bad with the bad and take the good with the good and just go with it.”

Impact on the Bengals

As one of quarterback Andy Dalton’s prime targets, Green is missed by the Bengals, but can the team hang on if it takes a few more weeks for him to recover? If the first two games are to be believed, this may be unlikely. The team is 0-2 in the first two games of the season, although Green is far from the only injury the team is suffering from. 

John Ross, Green’s replacement, has failed to fill the void he leaves when he isn’t out there on the field, but he has gotten 270 yards and three touchdowns in his first two games. The Bengal’s problems go deeper than Green’s injury, but what he supplies on and off the field is a hard thing to replace.