Rob Chudzinski gave an update on the current status of the players that were injured against the Lions on Friday afternoon with the most notable news being that rookie Barkevious Mingo will remain in the Cleveland Clinic for observation. He also said that Dion Lewis will undergo surgery to repair his fractured fibula. He wouldn’t give a timetable of either player’s return.
Lewis’ injury is believed to be the most serious injury, in terms of length of recovery.
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“Lewis will require surgery, but that has not been scheduled yet,” Chudzinski said on a conference call with local beat reporters.
Chudzinski said the Browns won’t immediately make roster decisions until all the information is gathered.
“We’ll wait on those decisions,” he said. “We don’t have to make those decisions yet. We still have a couple of weeks before the final cuts, so well wait on those.”
The NFL mandatory roster cut down date is to 53 players by August 31.
Chudzinski said that a possibility will be to designate Lewis as an injured reserve player who could return for the second half of the season.
“Again, we’re gong to wait and see,” he said. “He’s going to have surgery and once we get down the road and have to make these decisions on the roster then you can designate who then.”
Lewis had played will in training camp and in the first two preseason games and was believed to be the leading candidate to backup Trent Richardson with the injuries to Montario Hardesty. Lewis rushed for 33 yards against the Lions, including a long run of 31 yards. He also caught four passes for 15 yards. Chudzinski said the coaching staff hadn’t defined Lewis’ role as of yet.
“He’s one of the guys who had an opportunity to show what he could do and really, he was catching our eye,” Chudzinski said. “At this early stage, I don’t know if we really had everything planned out for this reason alone. We’re getting a better idea on how to utilize the players going forward into the season and through the season we’ll be learning more and more about our guys and roles for them specifically.”
It is unclear if and when Hardesty will be able to return. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday and Chudzinski said his recovery from that is expected to be longer than his recovery from the dislocated thumb. He could be out for the first few games of the regular season, leaving the Browns with Richardson, Chris Ogbonnaya, Brandon Jackson and undrafted rookie Miguel Maysonet.
“Again, we’ll wait and see where we’re at and how long (Hardesty’s injury) will be,” he said. “All these things will have to be factored in with the injuries and then what guys do in the meantime and who’s playing. It’s not just at one position, it could be at multiple positions as you get to the final few decisions on the roster.”
Chudzinksi said he didn’t think the Browns had to necessarily go out and find a player with Lewis’ skill set.
“It wouldn’t be necessary to have the exact type of guy that he is,” he said. “Again, i think that Norv (Turner) has proved over time that he can adjust to whoever’s there. Trent Richardson is still there, Ogbonnaya is a versatile guy that can do both, so he’s there. Brandon Jackson really had some nice plays in the game last night, as well. There are still a number of guys that are here and will play in the preseason and continue to work.”
Ogbonnaya has been playing fullback, but Chudzinski says he’s versatile enough to play both positions.
“I don’t see him being a guy that we just put at one spot or the other,” he said. “His skill set gives us something that we can utilize, so i don’t see (the injury) changing him where he’s just at one position.”
Chudzinski said that Mingo was doing better, but doctors want to make sure there are no troubles.
“He felt better this morning and stayed overnight in the hospital,” Chudzinski said. “We’re going to keep him over another night as a precautionary measure. it’s too early to give you the estimates on where that stands.
“With a bruised lung, so any time there’s that kind of injury, (the doctors) just want to make sure everything is okay in terms of breathing and everything else.”
Chudzinski said the coaches couldn’t determine how and when the injury occurred.
“We looked at the tape,” he said. “There wasn’t a big hit you could see. There was some contact, but it was hard to determine when it happened.”
Chudzinski said while on the sidelines, Mingo was having trouble catching his breath and so they sent him to be checked out.
Some reports have said that Mingo will be out only a week or two, but Chudzinski wouldn’t confirm that.
“I think we’ll just have to wait until they get done with the observations of him.”
Another injury was to right guard Jason Pinkston. He left in the first half and his injury was termed a high ankle sprain.
“Pinkston has a high ankle sprain,” Chudzinski said. “There’s a chance he will be out in the early part of the regular season. We’ll have to see how that goes.”
Pinkston had replaced right guard Shawn Lauvao, who also suffered an ankle sprain. Chudzinski was asked if there was any update on Lauvao’s injury and possible return.
“I don’t have any more (information) other than what the initial reports were that he would probably be out until early in the season.”
With both candidates to start at right guard out, rookie Garrett Gilkey is currently the right guard. Chudzinski said he played pretty well, considering he was thrown into the game against Ndamakong Suh.
“I was pleased with what he did last night for coming into the game and the guy he had to face,” Chudzinski said. “it was quite a challenge for him. he’s not Joe Delamielleure yet, but he’s made big improvements over the course of the times that he’s been there. It was a good situation for him and we’re seeing that at a number of positions and situations where some young guys are really getting opportunities to play and the competition that is important in games.”
Chudzinski was asked if he felt the Browns needed to bring in another running back or guard with the injuries.
“I’m not expecting right now to bring anyone in until we see where we’re at injury-wise and how soon we’re expecting them back,” he said. “We’ll sit down and talk more about (the projected length of the injuries).”
In other injury news, Chudzinski said that tight end Gary Barnidge’s shoulder sprain should allow him to return next week. The same for kicker Brandon Bogotay (groin) and punter T.J. Conley (groin). They are all listed as day to day. He also said wide receiver David Nelson (knee) is day-to-day.
“He’s making progress,” he said. “We’re day to day with him and hopefully, we’ll get him back to practice, maybe net week.”
In other news, Chudzinski was asked if he was ready to name Brandon Weeden the starter after his two touchdown performance and 137.7 rating.
“I’m still going to wait to name a starter,” he said. “To me, this process is important to go through and when we complete the process, we’ll name a starter. His performance was really good overall. He led three scoring drives and had a number of good throws. There were some things he can correct.”
Chudzinski was asked if Weeden showed big improvement from the first preseason game.
“I don’t know if it was a big improvement, but I thought he really was throwing accurate balls out there,” he said. “He did that in the first game, as well, but he had some nice throws there. I think he had to roll around in the pocket more as the rush was coming a little bit harder this week, so that was good for him to experience that.”
Chudzinski named several players who he felt stood out in the game.
“There were a number of guys and Jordan Cameron was one,” he said. “Brandon played well. I thought that Trent played well. On defense, jabaal (Sheard), Phil Taylor and Josh Aubrey, Those guys all stood out. They weren’t the only ones who stood out, but they popped in my head as you asked the question.”