The Cleveland Browns experienced a few injury scares on Saturday night during their final game of the preseason, but it looks like they came out of the game mostly in good health.
In the first half against the Chicago Bears, starting right guard Wyatt Teller injured his knee and starting safety Grant Delpit suffered a hip injury. Both players left the game, but on Sunday head coach Kevin Stefanski said that was just for precautionary reasons and both Teller and Delpit would have returned if it had been a regular season game.
In addition, while cornerback A.J. Green, who is dealing with a hip injury, and safety Ronnie Harrison Jr., who has a hamstring issue, did not play against the Bears, Stefanski said he expects both will be ready for Week 1 when the Browns face the Carolina Panthers.
While having to shuffle the lineup due to injuries and not putting some key players on the field during the preseason - most notably on offense as running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, along with wide receiver Amari Cooper sat out all three games - is not ideal, Stefanski is confident that will not impact the team heading into the regular season (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“You are right in that you have to make every one of these practices count as we move forward, guys return from injury and those type of things. Kind of like we talked about with evaluations, all of this is a body of work. It is all of the work that you have done in the spring and that you have started in training camp and these preseason games, I think they all add up to get you ready to play Week 1. Injuries are a part of this game. I would venture to guess all of the other 31 teams are dealing with similar things where guys are in and out of their lineup. You just have to navigate it.”
Right tackle Jack Conklin has yet to see game action as he works to return from a torn patella tendon in his knee suffered during the November 28 game against the Baltimore Ravens. Conklin was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on August 1, but the nature of his injury was pretty significant and Stefanski could not commit on Sunday to Conklin being ready to open the season (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“I think what we have done with Jack is make sure that we are progressing at an appropriate pace. We will work through the next four days of practice to see where he is and continue to give him more. He has done a very, very good job with everything that we have given him. He kind of has hit all of those mileposts, but past what we are going to do tomorrow, it does not really serve me to think about what he is going to do a week from now or six weeks from now. Really focused on the next four days.”
There was some negative news on the injury front, however, as defensive end Chris Odom, who was vying for a roster spot after being named USFL Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a torn ACL that will sideline him for the season.
The preseason is in the books and while the Browns were hit with their share of injuries, overall they are healthy as they begin preparations for the Panthers on September 11.