Cleveland RG Lauvao skips Browns practice

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.”

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.