Friday, October 21, 2011
Browns CB Joe Haden back at practice
BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns will be down at least one starter on Sunday, and maybe two others.
Strongside linebacker Scott Fujita will miss this week's game against Seattle because of a concussion he sustained last week in a loss at Oakland. Fujita was sent home three straight days before practice because he was still bothered by post-concussion symptoms. The 10-year veteran is second on the team with 26 tackles.
Meanwhile, the status of cornerback Joe Haden and running Peyton Hillis remains uncertain. Both were listed as questionable -- a 50 percent chance to playing -- on the week's final injury report.
Haden practiced Friday for the first time since spraining his left knee in an Oct. 2 game. Haden tested his knee by running at full speed and making cuts on the turf inside the Browns' indoor facility. Afterward, Haden said his knee responded well and the decision on whether he plays will depend on how he feels before the game.
Haden missed last week's game against the Raiders and wants to play. But he will be cautious.
"I'm not going to go out there with a chance to hurt it again," he said. "It's one game. If I don't play Sunday, then the week after I'll definitely be ready. But I want to make sure I'm out there -- 100 percent. I don't want to hurt it again or hurt the team."
Coach Pat Shurmur thought Haden looked "great" during practice. He said if Haden can play, he will start.
"If Joe (can) go, he'll be available the whole game, and we'll play him as much as we need him," said Shurmur, whose answers following practice were short and direct.
Hillis missed his third practice in a row and wasn't seen by reporters at the team's training facility all week. Shurmur said Hillis, whose contract issue and a sickness that caused him to miss a game last month has been a distraction, was getting treatment with the team's trainers.
If Hillis can't play, Montario Hardesty will start and Chris Ogbonnaya, signed off Houston's practice squad earlier this week, could be the third-down back.
The Browns (2-3) haven't won since beating Miami on Sept. 25, and Shurmur seemed a little edgy during the portion of practice open to the media. He yelled at Cleveland's offense and was clearly irritated by what he was seeing.
Hardesty has dropped six Colt McCoy passes in the past two games, and after he let one over the middle slip through his hands early in practice, Shurmur hollered "get a new running back in there," and Ogbonnaya took Hardesty's spot.
"He dropped the ball and we don't want him to drop the ball," Shurmur said when asked about the move. "We work on catching. You get what you emphasize and we've worked on him catching the football, that's what's going on."