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Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green may not return for finale

By Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange 
Cincinatti Bengal wide receiver A.J. Green make a reception in the end zone for the final go-ahead touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&M Bank Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. .The Bengals won the game 28-24. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
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Cincinnati Bengals A.J Green watches the ball in the match against the Washington Redskins in the third game of the International Series at Wembley Stadium, London, on October 30, 2016. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI.
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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) celebrates touchdown catch with Mohamed Sanu (12) during first half of play against the by St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 29, 2015. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
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CINCINNATI -- A.J. Green has been on the verge of history for a few weeks now, just 36 receiving yards shy of joining Randy Moss as the only NFL players to have at least 1,000 receiving yards in their first six seasons.
It now appears that the hamstring injury that caused Green to miss five straight games could keep him out of the season finale against Baltimore. Green was expected to play on Saturday at Houston but was scratched after head coach Marvin Lewis met with the team's medical staff on Friday night, according to a report by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"Well, he just had further testing during the week," Lewis said, following Saturday's game. "As I conferred with the doctors and so forth, they just thought the best thing for A.J. to have a full recovery was not to risk him this week."
With the Bengals (5-9-1) eliminated from the playoffs, some have questioned the reasoning behind playing Green and putting him at risk for more serious injury and longer recovery time. The five-time Pro Bowler said it's not in his nature to bail on the team even with the season essentially lost. If he's healthy enough to play, Green says he'll suit up.
Green has 66 receptions for 964 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. He was hurt in the Nov. 20 game against Buffalo while making a sliding catch near the sideline on the first series. The injury was first described as a strain but later Green said it was a "50-percent tear."
Other players have stepped up in Green's absence. On Saturday, Brandon LaFell had six catches for 130 yards, including an 86-yard touchdown that put Cincinnati in position to win the game and delay the Houston Texans' AFC South title hopes. But Alfred Blue's 24-yard touchdown run with 2:04 left and Randy Bullock's 43-yard field goal miss on the final play handed Houston the title in a 12-10 win.
Green was with the team in Houston but was allowed to return to Cincinnati once the decision was made that he wasn't going to play.
"A.J. hoped to play," said Lewis "but we ended up flying here and then making a decision, and he asked for the opportunity to go home."
In the end, it was another squandered opportunity for the Bengals, who scored just their second fourth-quarter touchdown of the season only to relinquish the lead in yet another tough defeat.
"These close games like this we haven't been able to get that one play or that one score that's helped us win," said quarterback Andy Dalton, who passed for 286 yards with a touchdown and an interception. "This is another example of it and this is the way the season has gone this year."
PASSING OFFENSE: B. Andy Dalton continues to flourish despite being under constant pressure. Dalton was sacked three times on Saturday but managed to pass for 268 yards and a touchdown. He was 28 of 41 with a passer rating of 84.2. He did throw one interception when his high throw went off the hands of Tyler Boyd and was picked off by Texans safety Quintin Demps.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D. Rex Burkhead continues to prove his worth for the Bengals' struggling rushing attack. With Jeremy Hill hobbled by injury, Burkhead rushed for 42 yards on 12 carries with one nine-yard run. But, Cincinnati managed just 50 yards on the ground, failing to keep the pressure off quarterback Andy Dalton.
PASS DEFENSE: B. The Bengals made things difficult for Texans quarterback Tom Savage, who was making his first NFL start. Savage was sacked four times and went 18 of 29 for 176 yards for a 79.1 rating.
RUSH DEFENSE: C. The Bengals allowed 95 yards rushing on Saturday, 73 from Alfred Blue, who scored on a 24-yard touchdown with two minutes remaining for the eventual game-winner. Houston averaged four yards per carry.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Randy Bullock's first missed field goal with the Bengals was a big one. Bullock started his approach to the ball too early and hesitated, throwing off the timing on his 43-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide right on the final play in a 12-10 loss on Saturday at Houston. Bullock is 3 of 4 since being acquired.
COACHING: C. Cincinnati finally scored a fourth-quarter touchdown on Saturday but the lead was relinquished moments later in a 12-10 loss. It was the same old story for the Bengals, who've failed to close out potential victories in the fourth quarter. Receiver A.J. Green flew with the team to Houston but then returned home to Cincinnati after the coaching staff and medical team decided not to test his injured hamstring.

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