Fans were stunned Sunday morning to learn that starting running back Peyton Hillis, arguably the biggest playmaker on offense, had been ruled out with strep throat. On Monday, head coach Pat Shurmur stated that Hillis had spent the night with the team at a hotel, and they hoped he'd feel better with a night's worth of sleep. He didn't, and Hillis said he felt like he couldn't go, which prompted the team to send him home before kickoff.
The good news is that Hillis was with the team for team meetings on Monday, according to Shurmur. When asked how he was doing, Shurmur said, "My understanding in talking to the trainers is that he feels better today."
As we all know, the illness to Hillis paved the way for backup Montario Hardesty to make his first career start. Shurmur praised Hardesty's effort, but also admits that went over the anticipated number of carries they had for him. "We wanted to play him more, but not 61 snaps," Shurmur said. "But, that’s the way it worked out. I think he did a terrific job." Hardesty finished the game with 14 carries for 67 yards to go along with 3 catches for 19 yards, including a key fourth-down reception on the team's game-winning touchdown drive.
In other injury-related news, cornerback Sheldon Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong suffered groin injuries. Both are expected to be limited in practice but should be able to play this week. This was the reason we saw more of Dimitri Patterson and Buster Skrine on the final defensive series versus Miami.
Joshua Cribbs is no worse off when it comes to his groin injury after Sunday's game. Shurmur noted that the groin injury was the reason they did not have Cribbs return kickoffs or punts. Joe Thomas also sprained his knee and should be fine. When asked about Tony Pashos, Shurmur basically repeated his answer from last week. "...[he'll get more reps] and will make an effort to come back even stronger than he did last week." The Browns might wait until after Titans game to actually play Pashos since they have a bye week following that.