Meadville Tribune

Sports

August 16, 2013

NFL: Impressive win doesn’t mask Browns’ aches, pains

CLEVELAND — The speedy linebacker is still in the hospital. The change-of-pace running back needs surgery on his broken leg. The starting right guard will miss part of the regular season.

Following an impressive win, the Browns were hurting.

Browns rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo remained at The Cleveland Clinic on Friday, a day after suffering a bruised lung in the first half of an exhibition win against Detroit.

Mingo, the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft, will spend a second night in the hospital, where he was taken before the end of the Browns’ 24-6 victory over the Lions. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said the team doesn’t know how Mingo sustained the injury.

“We looked at the tape,” Chudzinski said Friday. “There wasn’t a big hit that you could see. Obviously he had a number of plays with some contact, but it was hard to determine which hit it was.”

Also, Chudzinski said running back Dion Lewis will need surgery to repair his broken leg. It’s possible the versatile Lewis could be placed on injured reserve and lost for the season.

Chudzinski said the 6-foot, 240-pound Mingo was having trouble breathing before he left the field and was eventually transported by ambulance to the hospital. Chudzinski said doctors are being cautious with the 22-year-old former LSU star.

“Anytime that there’s that kind of injury they just want to make sure everything is OK in terms of his health and breathing and everything else,” Chudzinski said.

Mingo was on kickoff coverage and the punt return team and he took a few snaps at outside linebacker in the first half before he left the field and went to the locker room, escorted by a team trainer.

Chudzinski said it’s too early to determine how long Mingo could be sidelined. The first-round pick had a strong debut last week against St. Louis and Mingo had an impressive training camp.

Mingo has been working with the second-team defense, but the Browns expect to him to get significant playing time this season as part of their deep rotation of outside pass rushers.

He was one of five Browns players injured in Cleveland’s second straight win.

Lewis broke his left fibula when he was tackled after catching a pass in the third quarter. Lewis, acquired in a trade from Philadelphia in March, has shown flashes of being a perfect complimentary back behind Trent Richardson, who made his exhibition debut against the Lions and rushed for 33 yards in two series.

“He one of the guys that had had an opportunity to show what he could do, really catching our eye,” Chudzinski said.

It’s been a tough week for Cleveland’s running backs.

On Monday, Montario Hardesty dislocated his right thumb and then underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday. Brandon Jackson will likely move up the depth chart into Lewis’ spot until the Browns decide their next move.

Also, starting right guard Jason Pinkston sustained a high ankle sprain when teammate John Greco rolled over him on Cleveland’s second offensive series. Pinkston, who missed most of last season after developing blood clots in his lungs, will likely miss “the early part of the regular season,” Chudzinski said.

Browns tight end Gary Barnidge sprained his shoulder and rookie kicker Brandon Bogotay, who is competing with veteran Shayne Graham, sprained his groin.

With Lewis and Pinkston expected to miss significant time, Chudzinski said it’s possible the Browns will sign a running back and guard.

“We will see. I’m not expecting right now to bring anyone in,” Chudzinski said. “We will just have to see where we are at with some of these other guys injury-wise and how soon we are expecting them back. We’ll sit down and talk a little bit more about that.  Yes, those are possibilities.”

Pinkston was filling in for Shawn Lauvao, who underwent surgery on his ankle last week and will also miss some regular season games. Rookie guard Garrett Gilkey was pressed into action against Detroit’s strong defensive line and more than held his own.

“I was pleased with what he did last night for coming into the situation he had to come in, against the guy he had to face,” Chudzinski said. “It was quite the challenge for him. He’s not (Hall of Famer) Joe DeLamielleure yet, but he has made big improvements over the course of the time that he’s been here. That was a good situation.”

NOTES: Chudzinski still isn’t ready to name his starting quarterback despite Brandon Weeden having his second straight strong outing. Weeden is 18 of 25 for 229 yards and three touchdowns in the preseason.  Earlier this week, Chudzinski described the competition between Weeden and backup Jason Campbell is being “close.”  He’s not changing his public tune. “To me, this process is important,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll go through that, and when we complete the process, then we’ll name a starter.” ... Chudzinski said he would like to give Bogotay and Graham more opportunities in the preseason before naming a starter to replace Phil Dawson. ... Chudzinski named Weeden, TE Jordan Cameron (two TD catches), LB Jabaal Sheard, DT Phil Taylor and S Josh Aubrey as players who “stood out” against the Lions.

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