Exactly four weeks ago, A.J. Green went down with a hamstring strain that was expected to end his season, but now he’s back at practice and has been limited for the second straight day. Green hopes to suit up on Sunday against the Steelers, and he’s on track to do that if he can be a full participant at Friday’s practice.
Don’t get your hopes up just yet, though. There’s still a lot of question marks surrounding Green’s health. The Inside Injuries algorithm originally calculated Green’s injury as a grade 3 strain, which means there is a partial tear to the hamstring. The optimal recovery time is eight weeks, so he may heal fast enough to play before then, but he won’t be at full health. The good news is that his numbers have improved this week, moving from high risk to elevated risk and into the above average Health Performance Factor category.
Based on Green’s improved numbers, he is now a cautious start, but we also have a decoy alert on him. He may be active, but being back at full health and having his conditioning where it was before the injury is unrealistic. I don’t see Green playing unless he can get in a full practice tomorrow. “Limited” can mean a lot of different things. It could mean he took two reps at practice and jogged on the sideline, or it could mean he did almost everything at practice and was basically a full participant. Expectations must be tempered until Green proves he’s ready to go. If he does end up playing on Sunday, I see him on a snap count, which limits his upside. Don’t just plug him into your lineups if he is active, assess all of your options and proceed with caution if you do decide to start him.