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Hashmarks Pegs Winslow as Key Injury

ESPN Hashmarks did a comprehensive analysis of all 32 NFL teams today, highlighting the most significant injury for each team. Here is the excerpt for the Browns:

Team: CLEVELAND BROWNS

Player, position, injury: Kellen Winslow Jr., TE, arthroscopic right knee surgery.

Rehab status: Winslow had a cleanout procedure this offseason and is rehabbing in his hometown of San Diego. His absence from organized team activities has caused a bigger stir than necessary in Cleveland because Winslow expressed displeasure with his contract at the Pro Bowl. But agent Drew Rosenhaus cleared the air last week, saying Winslow will be in mandatory minicamp beginning June 10.

Next step: When Winslow arrives, he probably will watch from the sideline until training camp. Cleveland has suffered enough injuries as it is this spring (cornerback Daven Holly, receiver Braylon Edwards, tight end Steve Heiden and offensive lineman Ryan Tucker. All were injured during "voluntary" workouts.

Fantasy spin: There's no question Winslow's knee issues figure into his fantasy value, making him a high-risk, high-reward guy for '08. He has 100-catch upside as basically another wide receiver down the middle of the field, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him top last season's five touchdowns. But if Winslow misses significant time, it's hard to say that any other tight end in Cleveland will have much fantasy impact, since Heiden is recovering from disk surgery. In fact, the biggest beneficiaries would probably be Donte' Stallworth and Joe Jurevicius, who would surely see more targets.

Nothing new was really mentioned, but it's a nice little summary, especially to those who aren't necessarily Browns fans. However, I am a little surprised that rookie tight end Martin Rucker wasn't given a brief mention in the "fantasy spin" section. The other AFC North injuries that were highlighted are as follows:

Baltimore Ravens: Jonathan Ogden, LT, hyperextended left big toe. Right now, the Ravens are preparing as if Ogden is going to retire.

Cincinnati Bengals: Rudi Johnson, running back, pulled hamstring. Johnson was one of the biggest fantasy disappointments last season (he cost me a championship), but he has worked with trainers in the offseason on his durability.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Hines Ward, receiver, partially torn right knee ligament and meniscus. Ward should be healthy by training camp, healthy and ready-to-go as always.

Between all the injuries, the Browns have the most to lose, because I don't consider Ward's injury to be too serious. Johnson, even if healthy, can't be as effective behind the Bengals' offensive line. Ogden hasn't been in good shape for several years now, and Baltimore is still fairly weak overall on offense. Winslow was a nice security blanket for our offense last season though, and asking a rookie to step in could have adverse affects early on in the season.