DAYTON, Ohio - It took the first 45 minutes of training camp for the Bengals to be left holding their collective breath when franchise wide receiver A.J. Green appeared to suffer a left ankle injury here Saturday at Welcome Stadium.
Green, in his first action since missing the second half of last season with a big toe injury, went up for a contested ball with cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and came down on what may have been Kirkpatrick's foot. The usually impassive Green limped off the field in fury, firing his helmet and mouthpiece in frustration before punching the bench.
He left with his left foot extended on a cart before he got crutches and then was whisked away by car 45 minutes before his teammates departed for Paul Brown Stadium. Initial observations were he didn't suffer a broken bone and may have a sprain, but that is to be determined in scans and MRIs.
Head coach Zac Taylor, over seeing his first camp practice as a head coach, faced the surreal moment with a stiff upper lip. He could only say that he wouldn't speculate.
Even before the practice began, the Bengals were down their third receiver when John Ross surfaced with what is believed to be a hamstring issue. Taylor said it wasn't long-term and he wasn't going to dwell on Green's mishap, another potentially major injury on a team that has been decimated by them the last four years.
"We'll find out more about it," Taylor said. "We've got a long time before the season goes and we've got a lot of great players on this team. You always have adversity. Whether it's a two-day injury or whatever it is, you're going to face adversity in this league. It's how you respond. If you get down on every little thing that crosses your plate you're going to have a lot of bad days."
Quarterback Andy Dalton, one of the walking wounded from last season, kept it upbeat.
"You never want to see anybody leave, especially when it's your best player is the one going out. I know A.J. is a fast healer," said Dalton, who missed the last five games with a broken throwing thumb.
Green's injury came in the last 20 minutes of practice and cast a pall over the proceedings, but Dalton kept snapping.
"You have to move on. You're not going to stop practice for something like that," Dalton said. "You have to finish the practice. I thought we didn't really let it affect us. I'm not worried about A.J. I think he'll be all right."