The Cleveland Browns will be without three starters against the Los Angeles Rams for their return to Sunday Night Football.
And with the way the daily injury list keeps growing, a few more names made be added before kickoff.
The team announced on Friday that tight end David Njoku, linebacker Christian Kirksey and defensive back Damarious Randall have all been ruled out for the game:
- Njoku was placed on injured reserve as he deals with a broken wrist and concussion suffered against the New York Jets on Monday night. He now has to miss a minimum of eight games per league rules, which means the first game he would be eligible to return this season in November 24 against the Miami Dolphins.
- Kirksey is dealing with an unspecified chest injury - although NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is calling it a biceps injury - after also being injured in the game against the Jets. It has not been determined yet if Kirksey will need surgery, but he joined Njoku on the injured reserve list on Saturday.
- Randall will miss his second consecutive game with a concussion.
Backup offensive tackle Kendall Lamm has also been ruled out of the game with the knee injury he suffered in the season-opening game against the Tennessee Titans. Normally that would not be a big deal, except that starting right tackle Chris Hubbard did not practice all week as he is in a walking boot for an ankle injury that occurred during the fourth quarter of the game against the Jets.
#Browns-#Rams injury report pic.twitter.com/Bcw2DlimKv— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) September 20, 2019
If that is not enough, the rest of the team’s injury list for the game is extensive and includes starting cornerbacks Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward, both dealing with hamstring issues; starting safety Morgan Burnett, who has a quadriceps injury; and wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who is still dealing with a knee injury from the game against the Titans.
Got all that?
If the Browns have to rule out more starters before game time, or if some of the questionable players give it a go and have to exit the game, it will make an already difficult matchup that much harder.
But head coach Freddie Kitchens is not looking for excuses, as he told clevelandbrowns.com:
“I want whoever is at the game to play with passion. I want our fans to come with passion because I promise you the guys that dress up are going to play to the best of their ability, and we will see what happens. I do not want them worried about the scoreboard. I want them to worry about how they compete every play, and we will let the score take care of itself. I want to play smart, I want to play fast and I want to play physical, whoever is on the team. I will roll with whoever is there. I think we have enough guys who are willing to go out and play well, prepare well and put everything out there for 60 minutes or however long it takes.”
The Browns have made a couple of minor moves to fill the roster holes as the team claimed safety Juston Burris off waivers from the Oakland Raiders on Friday. Burris was a fourth-round draft pick by the Jets in 2016 and played with the Browns for the final four games of last season.
The #Browns are elevating former UDFA Willie Harvey Jr. from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, source said. With starter Christian Kirksey seeking opinions on his torn biceps, Harvey steps in Sunday.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2019
Harvey played 64 snaps this preseason: His run-defense grade (86.6) ranked 4th and pass-rush grade (74.8) ranked 25th among 133 LBs with at least 50 snaps. https://t.co/IGI2pdtllU— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) September 21, 2019
The team also promoted linebacker Willie Harvey off the practice squad on Saturday. Harvey is an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State who has now gone from a rookie minicamp tryout to a member of the Browns active roster.