The Cleveland Browns have been dealing with key injuries all season and the situation continued to get worse on Tuesday.
The club announced that running back Kareem Hunt and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah have both been placed on the injured reserve list. Hunt injured his calf on Sunday during the fourth quarter of the loss to the Arizona Cardinals, while Owusu-Koramoah suffered a high ankle sprain during the game.
We have placed Kareem Hunt and JOK on injured reserve and signed RB John Kelly.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 19, 2021
If that is not enough to bring down the day, quarterback Baker Mayfield that the labrum in his left shoulder, which has been described as being partially torn since he injured it in Week 2 against the Houston Texans, is actually a complete tear.
Oh, and running back Nick Chubb has been ruled out for Thursday night’s home game against the Denver Broncos.
While the minimum stay on the injured reserve list is three games, the injuries to both Hunt and JOK are severe enough that they will miss several weeks, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Running back D’Ernest Johnson is expected to get the start with Hunt and Chubb both out, and the Browns signed running back John Kelly from the practice squad to add some depth to the position. Kelly was a sixth-round selection in 2018 by the Los Angeles Rams and has 30 career carries for 83 yards.
As disheartening as it is to lose Hunt and Owusu-Koramoah for several weeks, the news about Mayfield’s shoulder is distressing. Mayfield has gutted through the injury - especially on Sunday when he dislocated it again after a sack by Arizona defensive end J.J. Watt - but it has clearly impacted his play.
Unfortunately for Mayfield and the Browns, there is not much they can do about the situation during the season outside of rehab and trying not to get hit, Mayfield said on Tuesday via a team-provided transcript:
“It is just of those things with shoulder injuries like that, you try and stabilize it and you strengthen the muscles and ligaments around it to where you feel that stability and it does not have the likelihood of popping out nearly as much. That is where I am at right now. It is managing that and trying to prevent it from happening again, but on a fall like the game Sunday, anybody’s shoulder probably would have popped out in how I fell. It was kind of a freak deal.”
Mayfield said he is planning to play on Thursday against the Broncos and Stefanski is holding off on making a decision until closer to game time.
Given the choice, there is no doubt that Mayfield will be on the field, but at this point it may be better for Stefanski to give it a go with backup quarterback Case Keenum and give Mayfield a few extra days of rest.