A.J. Green still under protocol

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Thursday, January 1, 2015

CINCINNATI -- Bengals Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green returned to practice Thursday morning in a limited capacity, but he remains under concussion protocol.

According to a Bengals official, Green still has to see a neuropsychologist and an independent neurologist before Sunday afternoon's wild-card-round playoff game at Indianapolis. Once he clears evaluations from both, he'll move beyond the protocol and will be allowed to play.

He will see the neuropsychologist Friday and the neurologist Saturday.

Because Green still is under phases of the protocol, he was allowed to participate only in non-contact portions of the Bengals' Thursday practice inside the University of Cincinnati's indoor practice facility. He was in uniform for warm-ups and position-specific drills during the open portion of the workout. During both, he wasn't seen participating much, simply walking around.

Without their own indoor facility, the Bengals, who fought the spread of the flu last week, are spending the week practicing indoors at the university 2 miles from Paul Brown Stadium.

Green suffered the concussion in Sunday night's 27-17 loss at Pittsburgh. After catching a first-down pass in the fourth quarter, Green was stripped for a fumble before getting hit in the head by Steelers safety Mike Mitchell. On the drive after the Steelers recovered the turnover, they scored on a 63-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown to put the game away and win the AFC North.

In addition to the head injury, Green is fighting through a deep biceps bruise he received the previous Monday night when he took a helmet to his arm on a hard hit. After he made it through Sunday night's game without that injury being an issue, the Bengals aren't as concerned about it as they are the concussion. Earlier this year, Green also missed parts of four games because of a toe injury he picked up in the season opener at Baltimore.

Green had two games in the regular season in which he caught at least 10 passes. He finished with 69 receptions for 1,041 yards, becoming one of three receivers to have had a 1,000-yard season each year since 2011. He also had six touchdowns in this injury-shortened season in which he was named to his fourth Pro Bowl.

It's in the playoffs where Green hasn't fared as well, though. In three postseason games, he has just 13 catches on 32 targets for 161 yards and no touchdowns.

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