Not a good sign for Sunday's Wild Card Game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Indianapolis.
After going limited on Thursday, four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green didn't practice at all Friday morning, remained in the NFL concussion protocol and was called doubtful for Sunday's game. Very rarely do Friday doubtful players play on Sunday, although Green has one more meeting with a doctor Saturday in an effort to get cleared.
The hope had been that he would be cleared before Friday's practice so he could be full go, but he was dressed in sweats while standing among the quarterbacks and wide receivers on the Paul Brown Stadium turf.
The concussion protocol means different things to different players. For instance, running back Cedric Peerman, who also suffered a concission Sunday night in Pittsburgh, practice limited for the second straight day. Head coach Marvin Lewis said he can't worry about the uncertainty.
"When he gets cleared he'll be out there ready to go full speed playing," Lewis said.
It was a thin receivers group with rookie James Wright (knee) ruled out and Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion) going on season-ending injured reserve earlier in the week. That leaves them with four healthy wide receivers in Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Tate, Greg Little and Cobi Hamilton.
Little joined the team in October, has six catches, and has been inactive five of the last seven games. Hamilton, a 2013 sixth-round pick, has been on the practice squad the last two years and has never played in an NFL game. Tate has 17 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown and while Sanu has 56 catches and five touchdowns with a career-high 790 yards, he was only targeted nine times in the month of December.
"We can't invent anybody. We've got the guys we have," Lewis said. "Greg was playing two weeks (ago). Greg's been working all the time out here, so it's no biggie."
Tight end Jermaine Gresham (back), their second leading receiver with 460 yards on 62 catches, was back to practice Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday but was called questionable after going limited.
Lewis, trying to break his 0-5 post-season drought, said his team he had a "good week," of practice with "good preparation." With his team making the post-season for a fourth straight January, he said the chances only come so many times and "you have to take full advantage of every opportunity you get at it." Asked how long the core of a team can stay together, Lewis said, "Whatever it takes. That's all that matters. Whatever it takes."
After practicing the first two days of the week indoors at the University of Cincinnati bubble, Lewis opted to stay at PBS Friday with the temperatures in the mid 30s. He said he wanted to keep some normalcy even though the Bengals are indoors Sunday.
"Where we practice is not a really big deal," Lewis said. "It was very windy yesterday. It was good to get out of the wind and go in inside. Today was a normal day here in Cincinnati, so it was fine."
JONES NAMED: Maybe the most amazing thing about Adam, Jones' selection Friday as the Associated Press' All-Pro kicker returner is that he also played about 70 percent of the snaps at cornerback.
"I like the challenge. I think I'm in good enough shape to play defense and do kick return and punt return but I'll let it play itself out and let the game come to me," said Jones when he got the word after Friday's practice.
In his fifth season with the Bengals, Jones, 31 led the NFL in kick returns with a 31.3 yard average on 27 attempts, the most since he had 43 as a rookie in Tennessee in 2005. He averaged 11.9 yards per his 22 punt returns, fourth best in the NFL. His most attempts with the Bengals were 26 in 2012, when he averaged 11.6.
"I just think with the timing of everything and the importance of everything they pick and choose when they want me to go back but it's been more this year," Jones said.
Jones didn't make the Pro Bowl team to the angst of special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, but the 50 media members who cover the NFL put him on his first AP All-Pro team.
"It's a little bit different from the Pro Bowl. It's amongst the people that are really watching," Jones said. "I've got to take my hat off to coach Darrin and the guys up front that they're doing a great job blocking. It'll be a good week to show why you guys picked us first. We're eager for the challenge and hopefully we can get in some good situations to make some plays."