When A.J. Green was carted off the field yesterday during the Bengals first practice of training camp, the initial reports weren’t bad. The Bengals were expecting a sprained ankle, but even a severe sprain wouldn’t be the end of the world, given the timing of the injury.
Unfortunately, Green’s MRI revealed torn ligaments, and Green is going to miss some regular season time.
An MRI revealed that Bengals’ WR A.J. Green has torn ligaments in his left ankle that is likely to sideline him six to eight weeks, source tells ESPN. Green is not expected to be ready for the regular-season opener at Seattle.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2019
Obviously that’s not good, but the circumstances of the injury are very unfortunate. The Bengals were in Dayton for their first camp practice thanks to the NFL’s 100th anniversary celebration, and the field on which they were practicing was apparently not a very reliable playing surface.
From Albert Breer at MMQB:
Cincinnati was at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium as part of the NFL’s 100th-anniversary celebration. The league initially wanted the practice to be at Triangle Park, site of the first NFL game, and planned to build a $440,000 field there for the Bengals to work on. But a Native American group raised concerns it was on an old burial ground and, after a site survey, that plan was scrapped.
The NFL still wanted to follow through with the plan to practice in Dayton, and so the Bengals cleared the idea of going to the University of Dayton’s home stadium.
But after working there for an hour on Saturday, several Bengals staffers were frustrated that Green’s injury happened on a field that they saw as subpar. One mentioned that players were sliding all over the place during what was a shorter-than-usual camp practice. Another saw pebbles lodged into the turf.
Clearly, ankle injuries can happen any time, on any playing surface. It’s concerning, though, that players ended up on a field that was flawed thanks to the NFL wanting to highlight 100 years of history. Then again, there’s probably no better way to represent the NFL in 2019 than tossing player safety concerns aside in favor of a hollow PR opportunity that ends up costing a team their best player.