Browns WR Coleman has surgery on hand, out 6 weeks or more

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2017, file photo, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman (19) is taken down by Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Keith Tandy (37) during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game, in Tampa, Fla. Coleman broke his right hand during Sunday’s Sept. 17, 2017,  loss in Baltimore and is having surgery. Coach Hue Jackson did not give a timetable on his return. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack, File)

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Corey Coleman’s second NFL season is off to an eerily similar start to his first.

Cleveland’s top wide receiver broke his right hand again during Sunday’s loss in Baltimore, and the 2016 first-round pick had surgery Monday. He is not expected to play again for at least two months.

It’s the second year in a row Coleman has broken his right hand. While he fractured a different bone this time, Coleman’s injury occurred almost exactly a year to the day after he broke it during practice last September.

Coleman did not have surgery last year, but missed six games.

”It’s unfortunate,” coach Hue Jackson said Monday. ”It almost feels like I know to him, the same time, different year, around the same time, here comes the injury and it’s unfortunate. But it’s something we go through and get through it.”

The Browns are expected to place Coleman on injured reserve Tuesday, and it’s possible he could be eligible for practice in six weeks and play in a game in eight.

The injury is a tough blow to Coleman personally and to Cleveland’s thin wide receiving corps. The team likely will sign another receiver when Coleman goes on IR and one of the possibilities is Jordan Leslie, who was with the team this summer.

Jackson and his staff had been pushing Coleman to become a dependable playmaker, and he had made solid progress.

”He was getting better,” Jackson said. ”There is no question about that. He was definitely heading in the right direction.”

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer said Coleman was one of the first players to report to the team’s headquarters Monday.

”He knows that it’s right back to the grind of getting back to the field to help out this program,” Kizer said. ”I’m going to support him as a friend and as a teammate, and I’m looking forward to seeing his progression through this injury and hopefully his procedure goes well hopefully and we’ll see him back out there.”

Coleman got hurt on a play where he was battling Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey and Tony Jefferson on a deep pass from Kizer. Coleman didn’t come down the ball and he landed awkwardly. Coleman made one catch for 9 yards before getting hurt.

After returning in 2016, Coleman struggled to get up to speed and finished with 33 receptions for 413 yards and three touchdowns – hardly the numbers the Browns imagined when they selected him with the 15th overall pick.

His loss puts further stress on Cleveland’s other wide receivers to pick up the slack. Rashard Higgins led the Browns with nine catches for 75 yards Sunday after being signed off the practice squad.

”Hey, next guy up,” Jackson said. ”We gotta go coach the guys that we have here. There’s nothing magical that’s going to happen that way. I know (VP) Sashi (Brown) and his team is going to do everything they can to see if there’s somebody else who can help us. But I don’t look at it that way. I think the guys that are on our football team have to step up and play, just like we saw Rashard go out there and play extremely well yesterday and do some good things.

”Who’s going to be the next guy that steps up and take the opportunity and makes something happen? So that’s what we have to do.”

During offseason free agency, the Browns chose not to re-sign Terrelle Pryor, their leading receiver last season. Cleveland instead brought in veteran Kenny Britt, who has two catches for 15 yards in two games.

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