CINCINNATI -- Bengals Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green said in an interview on NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Tuesday morning that his return from a right big toe injury is "still up in the air," but that the injury is progressing nicely.
"It definitely feels better," Green said, backing up comments coach Marvin Lewis made Monday.
Lewis said during a news conference that Green's toe had made "significant progress." It stood in stark contrast to what Lewis said just three days prior, when he also used the phrase "up in the air" to respond to a question about the timing of Green's return. Last Friday, he wasn't sure of when Green would play again.
The star receiver, who has 17 catches for 314 yards and two touchdowns in four games, hasn't played since Week 5 at New England. He has missed the last two games with the toe injury that he originally suffered in the first quarter of the season-opening win at Baltimore. He finished that game and took part in the first six plays of the Bengals' Week 2 game against the Falcons before leaving it because the toe's pain had gotten unbearable. He played the next two games before missing these last two after aggravating the injury during a practice three weeks ago.
"It's probably not going to be 100 percent," Green said Tuesday in his first formal interview in three weeks. "I hope it's just manageable and I can get through the season and be fine and still play at a high level."
Before Sunday's game, the Bengals tweeted a short video of Green jogging along their sideline. The video was captioned, "A.J. testing out his toe."
Lewis expressed optimism Monday because he and Green have been getting favorable reports from team doctors and specialists the receiver has seen the last two weeks.
"What the prognosis is is, I guess, the most important thing," Lewis said. "It's been a consistent message he's gotten. As we said earlier, the time [off] will allow things to progress and so forth that way."
The Bengals amassed just 135 yards of total offense without Green in Sunday's 27-0 loss at Indianapolis. Receiver Mohamed Sanu, who slipped into Green's role, caught just three passes for 54 yards, including a 32-yard reception in the fourth quarter. The week before, he caught 10 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.
"[It was] very tough," Green said of watching Sunday's loss from the sidelines. "Just sitting there being very vulnerable. You couldn't do anything but just watch."