NFL notebook: Bengals' Green downgraded to doubtful

A.J. Green‘s chances of returning to the lineup took a significant hit Saturday.

The Cincinnati Bengals downgraded Green to doubtful Saturday, all but assuring the star receiver will sit out his third straight game because of a toe injury.

Green did not practice all week, but coach Marvin Lewis said Friday there was a chance the seven-time Pro Bowl selection would be able to practice Saturday.

Cincinnati will host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Browns safety Damarious Randall provided some bulletin-board material for the game by telling the Akron Beacon Journal: “If they don’t have A.J., they’re getting their (butt) beat.”

–Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is a question mark for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Gordon was limited in practice Thursday and Friday because of knee and hamstring injuries and could be looming as a game-time decision for the Chargers.

Gordon rushed for 69 yards on 18 carries and had six receptions for 87 yards in last week’s 23-22 loss to Denver, but he was held out of the end zone for the first time since the season opener.

–Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka is recovering from a heart attack in a Florida hospital.

Ditka, a legendary tight end and former coach of the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, suffered a heart attack on Wednesday, multiple media outlets reported.

The 79-year-old Ditka is showing improvement and is expected to be released from the hospital in the near future, his agent told Friday.

Ditka was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988. He played 12 years in the NFL (1961-72), starring for the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. He coached the Bears to victory in Super Bowl XX.

— The season officially ended for Green Bay outside linebacker Nick Perry on Saturday when the Packers placed him on injured reserve.

The Packers (4-5-1) elevated defensive lineman James Looney, a seventh-round draft pick form California, from the practice squad to take Perry’s place on the roster for Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1).

The 28-year-old Perry sustained a right knee injury late in the first half of a Nov. 11 game against the Miami Dolphins. Perry’s knee was hit by Dolphins running back Frank Gore while he was rushing the passer and bent awkwardly. The oft-injured Perry has now finished the year on IR three times in seven NFL seasons. He had missed training camp this year while recovering from offseason ankle injury.

When Perry returned for the regular season, he was mostly ineffective, registering a career-worst 1.5 sacks, four quarterback hits and 24 tackles in nine games.

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