NFL

Cleveland RG Lauvao skips Browns practice

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BEREA, Ohio (AP)

Right guard Shawn Lauvao played every offensive snap last year for the Cleveland Browns. A left ankle injury, however, will likely prevent him from seeing action in the preseason opener.

Lauvao was held out of practice Tuesday, remaining inside the team's training facility one day after being hurt in a one-on-one drill against nose tackle Phil Taylor.

''Shawn is still getting evaluated medically, so I'll give everyone updates as I get them tomorrow,'' coach Rob Chudzinski said. ''Just like with everybody else, we're going to sit down with him and get more information. Then we'll assess the situation and do the smart thing.''

With the Browns hosting the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night, it's a virtual certainty that Lauvao, a two-year starter, will not play.

The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder rolled his ankle while blocking a bull-rushing Taylor, then fell to the ground in obvious pain. Lauvao was taken off the field on a cart, while Jason Pinkston assumed his spot on the first-string offense.

Pinkston remained in that role Tuesday before being excused from practice to attend a funeral.

''It was kind of a freak thing that happened to Shawn because we do that drill every day,'' left guard John Greco said. ''Obviously, we're all wishing him a speedy recovery. But that's one thing you learn in the NFL, depth is very important, and I've seen that first hand.''

Greco moved into the starting lineup last season when Pinkston fell ill during Cleveland's Oct. 14 game against Cincinnati. The 25-year-old left guard was subsequently hospitalized and diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs.

While Pinkston has since recovered, Greco played so well in his spot, he earned a five-year contract extension.

Chudzinski has kept Pinkston busy in training camp by having him work at both guard positions, but it's clear which side of the line that he favors.

''I've played left guard the last couple of years, so this is the first time I've put my right hand down in a while,'' he said. ''It's an adjustment, definitely, but it's great just being back on the field. The last time I played, the doctor said if I had stayed in the game, I could have died. So when you look at it like that, I'm just happy to come out and practice and have a chance at starting for a job again.''

On his first official depth chart, Chudzinski listed Pinkston as the co-starter at right guard with Lauvao, and at left guard with Greco.

Six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, center Alex Mack, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz are entrenched at their positions, but losing Lauvao - even for a short time - puts Pinkston squarely on the hot seat.

''Jason has been through a lot, but he's getting back to form,'' Chudzinski said. ''I am seeing signs, especially these last few days, of improvement. I think it remains to be seen which side of the line I like him the best, but his ability to move back and forth is a good thing.

''It's a good thing for Jason and for our football team.''

Running back Trent Richardson, who is recovering from a bruised right shin, could join Lauvao on the sideline against the Rams. He practiced for the second straight day, but his reps with the first-team offense were taken by former Eagles kickoff returner Dion Lewis.

''Whatever decision we come to with Trent, we will communicate that to him,'' Chudzinski said. ''I'll also let everyone know what we've decided.''

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NOTES: Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, a special advisor, attended practice. ... LS Christian Yount agreed to a five-year contract that will keep him with Cleveland through 2017. ... DE Dave Kruger (concussion), RB Montario Hardesty (hamstring), WR David Nelson (knee), FB Brad Smelley (hamstring), FB Brock Bolen (calf), RT Oniel Cousins (ankle), RT Ryan Miller (concussion), and LT Chris Faulk (knee) did not practice. ... Starting SS T.J. Ward (hamstring) was limited for the second day in a row.

Tagged: John Greco, Jason Pinkston, Shawn Lauvao, Browns

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