The Cleveland Browns received some positive news on the injury front on Monday.
But the biggest injury question still remains very much unanswered.
Cleveland welcomed running back Nick Chubb and right tackle Jack Conklin, who both missed the past two games, back to practice as they begin preparations for Sunday’s home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who came off the injured reserve list last week and helped spark the Browns in their win over the Denver Broncos, did not practice but it sounds like no one should read too much into that.
While that is all positive, the news surrounding quarterback Baker Mayfield remains unsettled.
Mayfield was inactive for the game against Denver as he is still dealing with a completely torn labrum and fractured humerus bone in his left, non-throwing shoulder. The inflammation in the shoulder was severe enough last week that Mayfield could not rehab the injury, which combined with a Thursday night game led him to being sidelined.
So will Mayfield be able to practice this week? Head coach Kevin Stefanski was asked that on Monday and he was very succinct in his answer, according to a team-provided transcript:
“We will see.”
So can Mayfield play against the Steelers if he does not practice all week, coach?
“We will see.”
Stefanski did say he is not ruling anyone out for Sunday’s game just yet, nor will he feel any pressure to name a quarterback until he sees how Mayfield is feeling and if he is able to practice.
At this point, it would seem that the Browns are weighing all their options when it comes to what to do next to help Mayfield.
If he returns to practice and shows that he can manage the situation with his ailing shoulder, he might be back in the starting lineup against Pittsburgh. Maybe not an ideal situation, but with the rest of the offense getting healthy around him, maybe not the worst.
Stefanski could give it another week with quarterback Case Keenum and see if simply resting the shoulder will allow it to heal enough to let Mayfield give it a go the following game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
If Mayfield can’t go in practice this week, or if he does and the shoulder is limiting his effectiveness, they could place him on injured reserve, which would keep Mayfield out until the November 21 game against the Detroit Lions. While that might be the prudent move, that would mean Mayfield would miss divisional games against the Steelers and the Bengals, which might not help the team’s playoff chances.
There is also the nuclear option, which would be for Mayfield to have surgery on his labrum, which sounds like it is going to happen at some point, and have the fracture repaired at the same time. That would knock Mayfield out for the rest of the season, of course, but would start his recovery period so he would be ready to go for next season.
That is a worst-case scenario and there has been no indication from the Browns or Mayfield that is currently even being considered, however.
For now, everyone will just have to keep on waiting to see what Mayfield’s status is, not just for this Sunday’s game against the Steelers, but for the rest of the season as well.