Shawn Lauvao’s consecutive games streak is about to end, and so is Cleveland’s run of healthy starting offensive lineman.
The Browns right guard underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle on Friday and will not be ready for the Sept. 8 opener against Miami, the first game Lauvao (la-vow) has missed in three seasons.
Lauvao, who started all 16 games in each of the past two years, injured his ankle during practice earlier this week. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Lauvao did not break a bone in his ankle and would not provide any other specifics about the injury or how long the fourth-year player will be sidelined.
”He’ll miss some time early in the regular season,” Chudzinski said. ”I don’t have any definitive dates and times on that. We’ll just have to see how that goes from the results of the scope, and how he’ll progress over the next few weeks.”
Jason Pinkston started for Lauvao in Thursday night’s exhibition opener against St. Louis and will likely slide into the starting lineup for the opener against the Dolphins. Pinkston made 22 consecutive starts at left guard before he developed blood clots in his lungs last season, was hospitalized and missed the final 10 games.
Lauvao was one of four Browns offensive linemen, along with Joe Thomas, Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, who did not miss a snap last season.
Chudzinski felt Cleveland’s line didn’t miss a beat with Pinkston subbing for Lauvao in the 27-19 win over the Rams.
”I was pleased with Jason’s performance,” he said. ”He did well along with the group of ones (starters) upfront. Then he continued and played a little bit more. I wanted to get him more work and keep working him back into things and he did a good job. I was pleased with him.”
With John Greco starting at left guard, Chudzinski doesn’t think he’ll move Pinkston back to his original spot.
”I like where they’re at right now,” he said. ”I think Greco’s been playing over there and been playing solid ball. And Jason, he’s a good athlete, and he had played right guard earlier in his career, moved to left guard. I think we’ll work it this way for a little while here. I know that John has flexibility being able to play on the right side as well.
”But I think the guys play next to each other and then they start to develop a little chemistry, so I’d like to see how that evolves with Jason staying on the right side. And in the back of our minds, we know that we potentially could flip-flop it if we had to.”
NOTES: RB Trent Richardson is expected to continue practicing as he recovers from a shin injury. The Browns kept him out of Thursday’s game as a precaution, but Chudzinski hinted that it’s possible Richardson could play next week against Chicago. … Chudzinski said he’s been in contact with G Ryan Miller, who sustained a concussion when he was knocked out in a blocking drill at practice two weeks ago. Miller is still working his way through the NFL’s post-concussion program. ”He says he’s feeling better,” Chudzinski said. ”He’s still resting and that’s kind of where he’s at right now. But he said he’s starting to feel better and making progress.”