A.J. Green removed from Bengals practice early for ‘precautionary’ reasons

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green makes a catch as Baltimore safety Eric Weddle dives to grab him during their 20-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Sept. 10 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green makes a catch as Baltimore safety Eric Weddle dives to grab him during their 20-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Sept. 10 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was removed from practice Monday for ‘precautionary’ reasons.

The Bengals held their first practice open to media Monday, and Green looked solid running routes and making catches early in the session. However, toward the back end of the practice, he could be seen walking around the sideline, stretching and shaking his left leg as though he was trying to loosen his muscles.

“Just precautionary,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said after practice in an online video conference. “I told him he’s done taking reps for the day and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. … He acted like it was feeling pretty good.”

Green is playing on a franchise tag this season and looking to secure a long-term deal for 2021 and beyond, but after missing all of 2019 with an ankle injury and seven games in 2018 because of a toe injury, he has to prove he can stay healthy. In total, Green has missed 29 of 64 possible games over the past four seasons.

The seven-time Pro Bowl pick injured his ankle on the first day of training camp last year and originally was expected to return after the bye in Week 9, but Green said he didn't feel ready to come back and it wasn't worth risking more injury.

Taylor didn’t seem concerned about Monday’s issue, and trainers were only working with him for a bit before Taylor told him to sit out for the remainder of practice. Green continued stretching and watching the session, along with teammates awaiting their turn for reps.

The trainers then had what appeared to be a more serious injury to tend to when defensive tackle Renell Wren went down with a right leg injury. He lay face down on the field for a few minutes until trainers got to him, and he eventually was carted off and taken back into Paul Brown Stadium, across the street from the practice fields.

“It just happened not an hour or two ago, so we haven’t seen him,” defensive end Sam Hubbard said in an online video conference after practice. “He’s with the training staff. Just hard to see that stuff happen to guys you know want to contribute and be part of the team.”

The Bengals had just activated the second-year nose tackle on Thursday after he spent over a week on the non-football list with an undisclosed injury. He went on the injury list Aug. 4 but passed a physical to clear him for return.

Taylor said it’s too soon to know how serious Wren’s injury is, but he did confirm NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport’s report that cornerback Trae Waynes underwent surgery for a torn pectoral muscle and is expected to miss a sizable portion of the 2020 season.

The Bengals signed Waynes in free agency on a three-year, $42 million deal and he was expected to fill the starting left cornerback spot vacated when Dre Kirkpatrick was released.

Waynes was one of seven players who did not participate in Monday’s practice, including running back Rodney Anderson, offensive lineman Alex Redmond, defensive linemen Khalid Kareem and Bryce Sterk (testing protocol exemption) and wide receiver John Ross (COVID-reserve list) and Tee Higgins, who is nursing a minor injury and was doing some work off to on the side. Anderson was waived later in the after failing a physical. Sterk passed Covid-19 protocols.

Ross left town last week to be with his 3-year-old son, who has COVID-19 along with the child’s mother.

“It’s tough, because he lives right across the street from me and not seeing him in the morning and being able to see him walking by, I reached out to him the next day after I heard and I told him, ‘No matter what, we’ve got your back. However much time you need, we got you, we support you,’” wide receiver Tyler Boyd said last week.

Right guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, who signed in free agency and was coming off a late 2019 injury, was a full participant Monday and confirmed that he hasn't missed any practice sessions despite originally getting placed on the non-football injury list at the same time as Wren on Aug. 4. He passed a physical a few days later and was ready to go along with the other veterans, he said.

Cincinnati practiced in shells Monday but is expected to put on pads for the first time Tuesday and the first intrasquad scrimmage is set for Friday. Practices are not open to the public this year.