The Cleveland Browns will be without starting QB Deshaun Watson for the rest of the 2023 season after a new shoulder injury occurred in Week 10 against the Baltimore Ravens. The team announced the injury and impending surgery on Wednesday prior to Week 11’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Deshaun Watson will undergo season-ending surgery on a broken bone in his throwing shoulder. pic.twitter.com/W79ku2xzND— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 15, 2023
According to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, Watson wanted to push through the injury and still play, but doctors would not medically clear him:
“Too much long term risk to his shoulder. Could do it at any other position, but not the throwing shoulder on a quarterback.”
Adding to Watson’s reported toughness, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Watson “wanted to be shot up and play through the injuries and sought multiple medical opinions, but doctors were clear that if he got hit again in the same spot, the shoulder could fall apart.” Jake Burns of The OBR believes that this is the hit that caused the most recent injury:
From what I can tell this is the injury hit. Early 2Q -- 6-yard scramble. Queen helmet directly to the shoulder. Pinned between two defenders. pic.twitter.com/65yMWCgYy1— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) November 15, 2023
With Watson out, veteran PJ Walker and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson will lead the 6-3 team as they push for a playoff opportunity.
The timing for the Browns and Watson couldn’t be worse, coming off his most important performance with Cleveland in leading a huge comeback against the Ravens. Watson was perfect in the second half of the game despite the new injury and having also hurt his ankle. About an hour before the Browns’ announcement, Watson posted the following quote on social media:
“When nothing makes sense, when all your expectations fall short, when your plans get derailed, there is only One who can offer you a firm foundation for whatever is ahead. When you place your life in God’s hands, your future is secure.”
The Browns are currently in the sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture with a chance at the top seed within reach if Watson was healthy.
During Watson’s absence this year, Walker started two games while Thompson-Robinson started the other. Neither quarterback performed well during their time but will now helm a roster that had Super Bowl aspirations just days ago.
It will be interesting to see if general manager Andrew Berry is satisfied enough with those options, or if the team will now consider another veteran quarterback with playoff experience such as Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, or Nick Foles. Berry is scheduled to speak to the media at 10:15 AM today.
We will have more coverage of Watson’s injury and what it means throughout the day.