The Bengals’ already fleeting playoff hopes sustained a significant blow Sunday.
Following a 16-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported wide receiver A.J. Green sustained a tear in his hamstring, with the simple prognosis being “not good.”
Green was carted off the field following an incomplete pass in the first quarter. Green will undergo an MRI early this week for more clarity on the injury, but Rapoport adds the fear is the injury will cause Green to miss the remainder of the season. He did not log a catch before exiting the field.
Coach Marvin Lewis said after the game that he had no additional details on the injury — only its location. A reporter for the team’s official site echoed Rapoport’s report.
“I don’t know when he can come back, but he has a hamstring injury,” Lewis told reporters.
Green, and the resurgent Tyler Eifert, made up such a monumental part of the struggling Bengals’ offense. Green came into Sunday second only to Falconswideout Julio Jones in receiving yards, with 964. Green also had four touchdown and 15 catches of 20 yards or more.
The news will hurt for Green, who was staring down a spectacular individual finish to his 2016 season. He has not missed a game since the 2014 season and has played in at least 13 games in each of his five previous NFL seasons. The Bengals will obviously be cautious with their star receiver given the grim outlook medically, and on the season.
Now 3-6-1, Cincinnati is a distant 13th in the current AFC playoff picture. And things certainly didn’t get much brighter when Rapoport later reported that running back Giovani Bernard tore his ACL in the game as well.
While theoretically still in striking distance of the 5-5 Ravens and 5-5 Steelers, the loss of such significant firepower paints a dark picture down the stretch. The Bengals have two more games against Baltimore and one more game against Pittsburgh this season. They travel to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.