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Denzel Ward misses practice, hope for Sunday; K Dustin Hopkins misses as well

Biggest Browns injury concerns lingers into practice for Week 1 versus Bengals

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns couldn’t have a bigger Week 1 than the one they have in 2023. Yes, the Baltimore Ravens are more hated and the Pittsburgh Steelers are the long-term rival but the Cincinnati Bengals are the class of the AFC North right now and are the in-state rivals.

The Bengals have used an explosive offense with Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd to rack up points while an elite defensive line and (now-departed) great safety play led the defense.

For the Browns, stopping Burrow-led offense could be more difficult with CB Denzel Ward’s injury.

Ward entered concussion protocol in Cleveland’s final preseason game and was not practicing on Monday in preparation for Cincinnati. While HC Kevin Stefanski is not allowed to share much about concussion protocol, safety Rodney McLeod believes Ward will play in Week 1:

The problem with concussions is that the recovery is not something that is easy to judge from the outside in. If a player has an ankle or knee issue, we can see them running or not during their recovery.

While McLeod might be “encouraged,” only the doctors in charge of his care can provide actual information on his return.

Stefanski also noted that new kicker Dustin Hopkins was not with the team on Monday but should return Tuesday. No information was provided regarding the reason for his absence:

We can speculate as to the reason, given the kicker’s move from the West Coast, but it could be a myriad of things.

We will keep you up to date with intel on both Ward and Hopkins as it becomes available this week.