After weeks of rule outs and no timetables for his return, Bengals receiver A.J. Green took a step in the right direction Thursday. Green returned for a “very limited practice,” according to Geoff Hobson of the team’s official site (Twitter link). As Hobson notes, this is his first time getting any work in since he got hurt back on July 27th.
In a follow-up tweet, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes that Green has a chance to play next week. Green “made some cuts, did some sidesteps over pads and caught a couple balls” in the period of practice open to the media, per a tweet from Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. He’s already been ruled out for Cincy’s Week 6 game against the Ravens. At 0-5, it’s looking like a lost season for the Bengals, which has led to a lot of speculation that they’ll look to trade Green, an impending free agent.
Just earlier today Green said he hadn’t heard anything about a potential trade, and he recently expressed a desire to have a career like his mentor Larry Fitzgerald has had with the Cardinals. In three of the past four seasons now, Green has missed significant time due to injury. He’s still one of the league’s better receivers when healthy, but he’ll be 32 next season, which complicates things. He’s reportedly been casually discussing an extension with the Bengals for months now, but the two sides are apparently pretty far apart on compensation.
Green suffered a severe ankle injury toward the beginning of camp, and recently there have been rumblings that they may look to keep him out past the Week 9 bye. The fact that he returned to practice today suggests he’ll be back in either Week 7 or 8, perhaps to better showcase him for a deadline trade. If they’re not going to trade him they could really use him as soon as possible, as fellow receiver John Ross was recently placed on IR.
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