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Browns receive good news on final injury report

Cleveland will welcome back a key member of the secondary for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns received some positive news on Friday regarding a key member of their secondary as cornerback Denzel Ward is expected to play in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ward’s status has been in doubt after he entered the league-mandated concussion protocol after sustaining a concussion against the Kansas City Chiefs in the final game of the preseason.

But Ward returned to practice this week and was cleared to play against the Bengals after being a full participant in Friday’s practice, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and other media reports:

Having Ward back on the field is a nice boost to a defense that is gearing up to face Cincinnati’s trio of quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, who are a handful for any defense.

The news of Ward’s return is tempered a bit by safety Juan Thornhill being listed as questionable after suffering a calf injury this week in practice, according to’s Mary Kay Cabot:

That doesn’t mean that Thornhill won’t play, of course, but if he is limited then Burrow will certainly take notice. If Thornhill can’t go or has to exit the game, then veteran safety Rodney McLeod will likely see even more action than is already in the plan of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Speaking of calf injuries, Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor confirmed what everyone already knew on Friday when he announced the Burrow will indeed play on Sunday after missing several weeks with a calf strain.

That would appear to give the Bengals an edge until you remember that the Browns have won five consecutive games at home against the Bengals and eight-of-10 overall in the series.

The Browns and the Bengals open the 2023 season on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Cleveland Browns Stadium.