Sunday was almost perfect for the Cleveland Browns.
The team absolutely dominated the Steelers in a 31-10 win, but suffered a devastating loss on the offensive line -- Alex Mack.
The beloved Browns center fell face first to the turf in the second quarter after his left leg twisted the wrong way following a run play. Mack remained on the ground for a time before the team's training staff immobilized his leg and helped him onto a cart.
As Alex Mack is carted off, waves of teammates run over to show him respect. https://t.co/n8wGGDD8vF— Josh Katzowitz (@joshkatzowitz) October 12, 2014
A host of players from the Browns' sideline gave Mack words of encouragement before the training staff drove him to the locker room. All the while, Browns fans chanted his name. Mack gave the stadium a "thumbs up" signal before disappearing into the tunnel.
Soon after the injury, Browns sideline reporter Nathan Zegura reported that Mack would be out for the game. John Greco stepped up to the task in Mack's absence.
In his post-game press conference, Browns head coach Mike Pettine stated that the initial prognosis was a broken left leg. Reporters soon confirmed the unhappy news.
Browns center Alex Mack suffered a broken fibula today that likely is a season-ending injury, per sources via me and @PatMcManamon.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 12, 2014
More on #Browns star center Alex Mack: He broke his ankle, I’m told. The fear is he’s out for the season.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 12, 2014
The prognosis for Mack is not good, as he is likely out for the rest of the season. The exact length of time will depend on the severity of the injury.
The most recent report states that the tests have come back, and the results are what the Browns originally feared.
Tests have confirmed a fractured fibula for Browns star C Alex Mack. Browns will have a big void in their OL duration of the season— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 13, 2014
Losing Mack is a debilitating loss for the Browns. Mack is not only a Pro Bowl center, but a critical figure in the locker room.
"It was pretty emotional for me," left tackle Joe Thomas told cleveland.com. "We played every snap together for six years ... He is the most unselfish guy I know."
His durability is perhaps his defining strength, as Mack had not missed a single play between being drafted in 2009 and the second quarter of today's game.
Following a 2nd quarter injury, center Alex Mack missed his 1st offensive snaps since he was drafted in 2009 - a stretch of 5,279 plays— Dan Murphy (@DMurph_BrownsPR) October 12, 2014
In the meantime, Greco likely will assume the role of starting center. While he never played the position in the NFL before today, the seventh year veteran performed admirably at the position today.
Paul McQuistan will likely stay at right guard while Greco sees time at center. Nick McDonald could come off the NFI list soon as extra offensive line depth soon, too.
Mack wasn't the only Browns player injured against the Steelers today. Armonty Bryant left with a sparined knee and K'Waun Williams departed the game with a concussion.