Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green did not play Saturday night in Cincinnati's 12-10 loss to the Houston Texans, and a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Green is not expected to play in the regular-season finale as he recovers from a right hamstring injury.
Sources told ESPN's Bob Holtzman on Saturday that Green, who had been optimistic all week he would play, was pulled from a team meeting and told he would sit out. The sources said Green was not happy with the team's decision, and he did not return to the meeting.
The decision to have Green sit out Saturday was made by ownership, a source told Holtzman.
Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan told ESPN that Bengals ownership, coach Marvin Lewis and the medical staff had a meeting Friday night in which they consulted with external experts on Green's injury and "fully discussed" the situation, analyzing it to a "higher degree than it had been before."
It was determined that Green has not fully recovered from a partially torn tendon, and even though he has been able to run at practice and looks fine, the Bengals would run "an inordinate risk" of reinjury to play him in a game.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton empathized with Green's frustration.
"A.J.'s obviously the type of person that was going to do everything he could to get back for this team," Dalton said. "One thing he said from the beginning was 'regardless of the scenario, regardless of the position that we're in, I'm going to do everything I can to come back and play this year. And that's just the type of guy he is. That's the type of guy you want on your team, the type of teammate he is. And he did that, he felt like he was in position, and ownership made a decision. Would I love to have him out there? Absolutely. But the decision was made."
Dalton said the team prepared as if Green was going to play. A Bengals source told Holtzman that they felt the "rug got pulled from under us." Green left Houston following the decision.
"It's obviously a decision that they wanted to make, and things may have been planned a different way, but we were able to adjust, went out there, and had a chance to win this game," Dalton said.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Friday's decision to sit Green came after he underwent further testing and consulted with doctors.
"They just thought the best thing for A.J. to have a full recovery is not to risk him this week," Lewis said.
When asked why the decision wasn't made earlier in the week, Lewis said there were a lot of discussions throughout the week.
"We had a lot of discussions ... and A.J. hoped to play," he said. "We ended up flying here and made the decision. He asked for an opportunity to go home."
Green has not played since suffering a Grade 2 hamstring tear two snaps into the Bengals' Week 11 game against the Buffalo Bills. In addition to Saturday's game, sources said he will miss next week's regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bengals have a history of bringing injured players back slowly, a philosophy cultivated by owner Mike Brown.
"Mike Brown doesn't want them to play next week; he wants them to play next year," Marvin Lewis told ESPN in December. "These guys are very lucky here. Sometimes they don't realize that. He's concerned with their health beyond their career. ... Most people aren't concerned about that."
On Thursday, Green said there was never a thought to ending his season early.
"I'm not the type of guy to try to just shut it down, just to bail on my team because we're not having the season we wanted to have," Green said Thursday. "That's like a cowardly move to me. If I'm healthy, I'm going to play. And I feel like I'm healthy."
Green is 36 yards away from his sixth straight 1,000-yard season; he was voted to his sixth straight Pro Bowl this week. The receiver was having one of the best seasons of his career prior to the injury, and his 96.4 yards per game is a personal best.
ESPN's Katherine Terrell contributed to this report.