Cleveland Browns: NFL injury wire

Jordan Cameron in, Joe Haden out

December, 29, 2013
PITTSBURGH -- The Browns will have tight end Jordan Cameron in the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they will not have cornerback Joe Haden. No doubt Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will notice that rookie Leon McFadden is playing corner.

Other lineup changes prompted by injury include rookie Garrett Gilkey and John Greco (back from a sprained knee) starting at guard; Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston are both out with concussions. On the defensive line, Phil Taylor is out with a concussion. Ishmaa'ily Kitchen will replace him at noseguard, with Billy Winn starting at end.

Browns' Cameron, Taylor miss practice

December, 24, 2013
Several Cleveland Browns missed the first practice in preparation for the season finale in Pittsburgh, but coach Rob Chudzinski would not speculate on their status for Sunday's game.

Offensive guard Jason Pinkston, defensive lineman Phil Taylor and tight end Jordan Cameron are all sidelined by concussions and undergoing NFL mandated testing.

Cornerback Joe Haden (hip), defensive lineman John Hughes (knee) and linebacker Paul Kruger (flu) also did not practice. Guard John Greco returned from a sprained knee on a limited basis.
Cornerback Joe Haden was on the practice field for the first time this week for the Cleveland Browns, but Haden said he’s still a game-time decision against the Jets because of a deep hip bruise.

“I just tried to do warm-ups,” Haden said. “Individual drills. It felt pretty good. We’re still working day by day.”

Tight end Jordan Cameron was ruled out with a concussion.

Haden said he feels better than he did two days ago, but the issue is pain tolerance and being able to move well enough that the injury doesn’t prompt another problem like a muscle pull or strain.

“If I’m going to be able to go, it (the decision) will be Sunday,” Haden said.

“I think he’s going to play,” safety T.J. Ward said. “I’m not sure though. He’s coming along, progressing. We’ll see on Sunday.”

Haden is listed as questionable.

In addition, receiver Davone Bess missed the past two days of practice with a personal issue. The Browns did not say more than that; Bess is also listed as questionable.
It will be a game-time decision whether Browns cornerback Joe Haden faces the New York Jets on Sunday. Haden is trying to recover from a deep hip bruise and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.

“We definitely need him to play and want him to play,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “But obviously it’s a health and safety concern. We’re doing everything we can, I know he is, to be ready to play. So we’ll just wait and give him as much rest and rehab time as necessary to get him out there.”

In Haden’s absence, rookie Leon McFadden would start, and Horton mixed no words when assessing what McFadden should expect.

“He’s definitely the hot corner, if you will, because as a rookie, they’re going to come after you,” Horton said. “They know who’s playing, just like we know who’s playing on their side. He’s going to get tested until he can prove that, ‘Hey, either I’m not a rookie or if you do throw at me, I’ll take it back on you.’ So I’m sure he’s aware that this week in New York, he’ll probably have a little bit of a target on him because of being a rookie and having two penalties the last two weeks.”

Horton was flagged for key pass interference penalties two weeks in a row, in New England and against Chicago.

The Browns quibbled about the call in New England.

They didn’t about the call against Chicago.

“I think the officials got that one right,” Horton said. “I really do.”

In addition to Haden, tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice. He is not expected to play.
A long Cleveland Browns season gets longer by the week, and may continue with the team's best defensive player sidelined after getting kneed in the hip.

Joe Haden hobbled into the team's media room to say he was in a lot of pain after he was inadvertently hit, and that he had “no idea” if he could practice or play this week.

Haden may respond quickly to treatment, but that remains to be seen.

Haden's absence creates a strong ripple effect throughout the defense. He covers the opponent's best receiver. Chris Owens, the team's nickel back, is already on injured reserve. Without Haden and Owens, the Browns would have their second, fourth and fifth corners playing in the first, second and third slots against the New York Jets.

Buster Skrine and rookie Leon McFadden have been victimized lately, and Julian Posey becomes the nickel. Teams find players everywhere, but Posey has been active for just three games this season.

If Haden can't play, it would seem defensive coordinator Ray Horton would have to adjust coverage, perhaps have the corners play sides, or even play more zone.

The good news is rookie quarterback Geno Smith hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in New York -- he's completing 55 percent with more than twice as many interceptions (21) as touchdowns (10).

The Browns are left to wonder what happened to a season that had many thinking the playoffs were possible when they started 4-5. In hindsight, the playoff chatter was ludicrous -- not because of the past five losses in a row -- but because they only won one game in the four before the bye. Five losses since the week off make 10 for the season. Again.

Players keep promising things will change. In fact, they vow it will change. They believe in each other, and in the coaches. They wonder why things aren't going well. Haden said players are having serious, legit discussions with coaches about what to do. He said it's “not the same old Browns,” a notion coach Rob Chudzinski seemed to favor.

“We're not going to hope we get better,” Chudzinski said about 12 hours after the birth of his fourth child, a boy. “We're going to make good things happen. We're going to be proactive and I've challenged our coaches and players to be part of the solution.”

Chudzinski means it, and he cares.

But the problem is the same things have been said over and over the past many years.

The end results eventually are the same: For the sixth season in a row, and for the 11th time in 12 seasons, Cleveland finishes with at least 10 losses.

Which leaves the fans -- like they were Sunday -- standing out in the cold waiting for something good to happen.
The Browns will be without guard John Greco and running back Willis McGahee in practice today.

Greco sprained his right medial collateral ligament on the first play of the game in New England when his foot caught in the turf. He tried to stay in the game, but was not effective. The Browns will see how his week goes, but it does not seem likely he will face Chicago on Sunday

Jason Pinkston replaced Greco in New England and would replace him against the Bears as well.

“We’ll see as we go along what his (Greco’s) status is,” coach Rob Chudzinski said.

McGahee suffered a concussion on a goal-line run in the fourth quarter. He was sent home Wednesday and must pass the NFL concussion protocols before returning. His return for Sunday seems very doubtful. The Browns signed Edwin Baker off the Houston practice squad.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden, meanhwhile, has been cleared to practice. Weeden has been sidelined since he received a concussion nine days ago against Jacksonville.

Chudzinski would not say whether Weeden or Alex Tanney would be the backup quarterback against the Bears.

“There’s some things that Brandon has to clear this week,” Chudzinski said.
Jason Campbell took a step closer to starting for the Cleveland Browns Sunday in New England.

Campbell, who has been out since receiving a concussion against Pittsburgh, was cleared by team doctors to practice. But he still must be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can play in a game.

That process will take place in the next day or two.

Teammates had said last week that Campbell was doing well, but coming back from a concussion brings a lot of uncertainty. The Browns hoped Campbell might practice Wednesday; he was deemed not ready.

Having him back Thursday is a help, but the team will not say how much Campbell did in practice until it releases the injury report, usually around 4 p.m. ET.

“He is cleared to practice, and that’s the next step,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “I’m not a doctor, but he’s been real sharp in the meetings and seems to be doing well. Obviously the doctors have to confirm that, and then we’ll see how he is.”

The one thing that seems clear is that Brandon Weeden will not play in New England. Weeden has yet to be cleared to practice.

The process the NFL uses in bringing folks back from concussions was partly of their own making. They put Colt McCoy back in a game in Pittsburgh after he had taken a vicious late hit to the jaw from linebacker James Harrison.

That contributed to the league strengthening testing to ensure nobody returned too early.

The Browns no doubt would welcome Campbell on the field in New England, but it is pretty much out of their hands.

Injury report: Robertson misses practice

November, 20, 2013
Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Craig Robertson walked through the locker room with a brace on his right knee, but he did not practice Wednesday as the team prepared for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Robertson hurt his knee in the loss to Cincinnati. He tried to return, but couldn't.

He has started every game at inside linebacker. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has said that Robertson's abilities in coverage and against the run allow the Browns to do different things.

Robertson ranks third on the Browns with 70 tackles. With him out, Tank Carder moves into the lineup alongside D'Qwell Jackson. Carder has one start in two seasons with the Browns.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said the defense will "generally" be able to do the same things with Carder.

The Browns also announced that Armanti Edwards was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Edwards had signed with the Browns on Oct. 29 and had shared time with Davone Bess returning punts.

Groves placed on IR, done for season

November, 11, 2013
The Cleveland Browns will be without special-teams captain Quentin Groves for the rest of the season.

Groves was placed on injured reserve and will have surgery to repair his left ankle. Coach Rob Chudzinski did not get into specifics on the injury, which has bothered Groves since the second game of the season.

“Quentin’s a valuable part of our team and a valuable part of the leadership on our team,” Chudzinski said. “Obviously, we’re disappointed, but it’s the best thing right now to get that fixed and corrected.”

Groves is a popular and well-liked guy on the team, and he’ll be missed. He plays hard and fast on special teams and the defense -- to the point that linebacker D’Qwell Jackson called Groves “the energy guy.”

Groves originally hurt the ankle in the second game, which caused him to miss three games. He played two games, missed another and reinjured the ankle after five plays in the second game against Baltimore.

Groves was signed to form a pass-rushing quartet of linebackers that included rookie Barkevious Mingo, Jabaal Sheard and Paul Kruger.

His first season ends with two sacks in five games -- including one in his five plays against the Ravens.
It seemed that linebacker Jabaal Sheard would return for the Browns last week.

He didn’t.

But he might on Sunday against Green Bay.

Sheard was a full participant in practice all week and is listed as probable on the team’s injury report. He missed three games with a sprained knee.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said Sheard will join Quentin Groves and Barkevious Mingo in a rotation at outside linebacker.

“We have different packages for all of them,” Chudzinski said. “I look at it like we have three starters, and we’re going to roll them. Hopefully, we can get them to where the amount of reps they’re getting are close to the same. I think that’ll help our effectiveness.”

Defensive lineman Billy Winn will not play Sunday. Running back Willis McGahee was held out Thursday to rest his aging and ailing knees, but he will play.

The Browns also placed backup defensive back Josh Aubrey on injured reserve. Aubry hurt his knee and ankle in practice Thursday and is done for the season. In addition, the team waived running back Bobby Rainey.

Cornerback Julian Posey and wide receiver Tori Gurley were promoted from the practice squad.
Cleveland Browns running back Willis McGahee was not practicing Thursday as the team prepared for Sunday’s game in Green Bay, but the Browns said it's no big deal.

McGahee rode a bike early in practice, and worked on the side as the team worked on the field. The team said it is just giving McGahee a day off to rest his surgically repaired knee.

The team believes he will play in Green Bay, though he will probably be on the injury report the rest of the season.

McGahee leads the team with 164 yards on 59 carries. He signed with the team after the trade of Trent Richardson. Without him, the running game would come down to Chris Ogbonnaya, Bobby Rainey and Fozzy Whitaker against the league’s fourth-ranked run defense. Thus the Browns are trying to make sure McGahee gets to Sundays.

“We have an unusual situation, and we’re making the best out of it,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “McGahee is giving us plays. Ogbonnaya is giving us plays. Bobby’s giving us some plays. Now we’re going to use Fozzy a little bit and see how he does. No question it’s a group effort.”

McGahee is not a great back, but he makes tough runs and runs hard. Turner said a week ago his ability to gain 3 or 4 yards on a carry had given the offense a fair amount of confidence. He ran 26 times in the win over Buffalo.

The Browns ran well in the first half against Detroit, but they did so little offensively in the second half they sustained nothing passing or running.

Any struggles in the running game would play right into the hands of Dom Capers and the Packers. He likes to shut down the run, then use creative and different blitzes to attack the quarterback, which will add to Brandon Weeden’s already significant challenge.
Cleveland Browns linebackers Jabaal Sheard and Quentin Groves went through another day of practice and will test their injured knee and ankle, respectively, prior to Sunday’s game to see if they will face the Lions.

Sheard and Groves are listed as questionable, though both seem to have a good chance to play.

The team is playing it careful, in part for competitive reasons and in part to make sure neither player has a setback of any kind on Saturday.

If fully healthy, Sheard would likely move back into his starting spot at outside linebacker. The Browns were very pleased with Sheard’s play, and though they liked some of the things that first-round pick Barkevious Mingo did, they also recognized his inconsistency.

Coach Rob Chudzinski also said that Brian Hoyer will have surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Friday, Oct. 18. Chudzinski said the team hopes to have Hoyer back on the field during OTAs in May and June.
Chances seem to be improving that the Cleveland Browns will have one of their better defensive players back from injury this week.

Jabaal Sheard moved well in the portion of practice open to the media. Sheard has missed two weeks with a sprained knee, and though he was limited Wednesday he was in full uniform Thursday.

Sheard moved from defensive end to outside linebacker this season when the Browns switched to the 3-4 and was playing very well before he sprained his knee.

“He’s a very smart player,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “He allows us to do certain things.”

First-round pick Barkevious Mingo started for Sheard, and Horton has been quick to temper enthusiastic responses to Mingo’s flashy plays and caution that the rookie was learning.

One example: Mingo was responsible for the outside edge on C.J. Spiller’s long touchdown run in the win over the Bills, but he ducked too far inside and allowed Spiller to bounce around the end and score.

“I assume he knows what the lesson is, what his responsibility to the rest of the team is,” Horton said of Mingo. “He’s a young player and I think I said a week ago, two weeks ago for sure, with young players like him, we’re going to learn and grow with him.”

And suffer with him.

Sheard is in his third season, but Horton said he is “one of our better players.” Horton deferred to coach Rob Chudzinski on whether Sheard would start, but said: “We want all of our good players on the field.”

In other injury news, defensive lineman Billy Winn did not practice. Linebacker Quentin Groves was in uniform and on the field.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer made his first appearance on the field since tearing a knee ligament during the morning walk-through. Hoyer moved on crutches, and did not speak to the media. He has been in the building with his teammates all week.
The Browns won't have the quarterback who started the last three games when they play the Lions on Sunday in Cleveland, but they are getting healthier in other areas.

Linebackers Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Quentin Groves (ankle) returned to practice Wednesday, though Sheard was wearing a brace and limping slightly on his sprained knee. Sheard has missed two weeks after hurting the knee in a win over the Vikings. Groves has been out since he sprained his ankle in Week 2 against Baltimore. Their return would add to the pass-rushing swarm the team likes to send at quarterbacks. When Sheard returns, it might affect the playing time for first-round pick Barkevious Mingo, but defensive coordinator Ray Horton likes to use different combinations in his pass-rush units. There should be plenty of time for both.

Fullback Chris Ogbonnaya also was practicing after leaving last Thursday's game with a concussion. Coach Rob Chudzinski said Ogbonnaya had been progressing well.

Defensive end Billy Winn was not practicing, and quarterback Brian Hoyer was not at practice. Hoyer tore a knee ligament and will miss the rest of the season.

As of Wednesday, the Browns had not added a third quarterback, and it appears likely they will go into Sunday's game with Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. If both are injured, MarQueis Gray -- a waiver wire pickup from San Francisco playing special teams, tight end and fullback -- would be the third quarterback.
The last word on the “classless” Cleveland Browns comes from Tashaun Gipson, the Browns safety whose hit knocked Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel out of the game Thursday night.

Gipson admitted his demonstrative gesture over Manuel -- who was grabbing his knee after being hurt -- was not because Manuel had been injured. He simply was celebrating the play.

“I was not celebrating the injury,” Gipson said. “At the end of the day, we all in here are brothers in some way.”

He added later he “did not know the significance” of Manuel’s injury when he gestured.

Manuel will miss a month after Gipson hit him on the knee while making a tackle at the end of a run. Nobody complained about the hit, just the gesture after. Earlier in the game, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer was lost for the season with a knee injury.

Gipson said he heard that Bills center Eric Wood called the Browns “classless,” and that Wood said he had been told T.J. Ward told a Buffalo teammate the Browns were going to get Manuel after Hoyer was injured. Ward denied making the statement.

Gipson called it “he says, she says.”

“I highly doubt that any of our guys would say anything like that,” Gipson said. “I know me personally, suffering an injury myself last year, I definitely wouldn’t be over celebrating that I hurt somebody. That wasn’t my intention when I made the tackle.”

He added “football is an intense game (and) maybe a little too much adrenaline came over me” when he gestured.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday Gipson would not be fined, a decision Gipson appreciates.

"It was a clean hit,” he said.