The Cincinnati Bengals got a bit of a scare Thursday during the first practice of training camp when All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green landed awkwardly and immediately clutched his left knee.
After a few minutes of attention from the medical staff, Green walked off the field under his own power with only a slight limp.
“They went inside just so they could take a look, but I think he’s fine,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said of Green.
The play happened on a deep pass from Andy Dalton with cornerback Terence Newman in coverage. Green landed just out of bounds on the far side of the west practice field that runs parallel to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, and his knee appeared to be locked as he planted his left foot.
He was only a few feet from a pile of rocks and drainage ditch, but Lewis said that had nothing to do with what happened.
“That side of the field has never changed,” Lewis said. “We’ve practiced out here for years on that field the entire season. It’s got nothing to do with the side of the practice field. It’s just the way he ended up coming down, a little awkwardly. We’d rather they all stay on their feet. I’d rather have an incomplete pass.”
Offensive tackle Andre Smith, who began training camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list with a calf issue, said he hopes to begin practicing Sunday.
Smith missed all of voluntary OTAs and was fined for missing the mandatory minicamp for what he said were personal reason.
“It’s all taken care of,” Smith told a crowd of reporters. “I appreciate all of your all’s concern and everything, but it’s personal.”
Smith said he worked out in Alabama during his time away from team activities, and he reported for camp at 342 pounds. He is listed as 335 on the roster.
“I worked hard,” Smith said. “I didn’t want to come back and disappoint my teammates and disappoint ownership. My main thing was to come back in shape and ready to go. I just ran into a little hiccup right before I came back.”
Lewis said he’s confident Smith will be ready to go soon and that putting him on the PUP list was just a formality.
“We haven’t seen (Andre),” Lewis said. “When he went through the physical process and he has something that’s not quite 100 percent, our best alternative is to make sure we can put eyes on him and work with him for a few days and make sure it’s nothing more severe. From what I’ve been told, I don’t think it will be very long.”
Shortly after he walked into the locker room, Dre Kirkpatrick was surrounded by reporters and cameras. Flashing a huge smile, Kirkpatrick was eager to talk because his news was good.
The 2012 first-round pick who missed most of his rookie season with knee injuries and a concussion was cleared to practice the day before camp opened.
“I’m probably the only guy in the country that’s excited about training camp,” he said. “I’m ready to go. I’m ready to give it my all.”
Kirkpatrick looked impressive in position drills and in 11-on-11 action, during which he ran stride for stride with Green and prevented a deep completion.
“That guy last year would’ve run smack into A.J.,” Lewis said. “But this time he got in great position. He got A.J. and cut off and he turned and played the football. It will come back very quick. He understands the process is it, it’s just time on task out here against real guys.”