After six days of practice, three days in full pads, the Browns suffered a rash of injuries. These are expected during training camp, but some involved players at key positions.
Prior to practice on Friday, August 14, it was announced that Center JC Tretter had a knee procedure to ease discomfort. A sixteen game schedule is grueling, so having this done prior to training camp makes sense. Depending on how well it heals, Tretter should miss only a couple of weeks. However, if it’s a lingering injury, he could miss the first game of the season against Baltimore. If that’s the case, due to the short week prior to the Thursday night game against Cincinnati, he may not be back until week three.
Running back Nick Chubb. On Monday, August 17, the first day of practice in pads, Chubb was tackled around the neck from linebacker Mack Wilson. He appeared to hit his head on the ground as he fell. Chubb was placed in concussion protocol. He has been at the facilities in Berea every day, so he should be able to return to practice over the weekend. Update, 08/22/20, RB Nick Chubb has been cleared to practice.
Linebacker Mack Wilson. On Tuesday, August 18, Wilson planted his foot awkwardly attempting to make a tackle and hyper-extended his knee. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN reported, “A source said Browns LB Mack Wilson (hyper-extended knee) is hopeful he can avoid surgery but the team and player won’t know until swelling subsides, which could take time. Probably looking at 6-to-8 weeks out if no surgery.” If surgery is needed, Wilson is done for the year. ESPN 850 AM reported this week, Wilson might seek a second opinion from well-known sports orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Cornerback Kevin Johnson. On Wednesday, August 19, on the last play of the practice, Johnson suffered a lacerated kidney making a tackle in the end zone. With any internal injuries, a 24-hour hospital stay is necessary to determine the extent of any internal bleeding. According to https://www.merckmanuals.com, there are five levels of severity with this kind of injury. One through three are less severe and require rest and recovery, then Johnson’s timetable for a return would be six to eight weeks. If it’s level four or five, surgery is needed and the recovery time is two to six months. Update, 08/22/20, Kevin Johnson was released from the hospital and is week to week.
As for the other injuries, defensive end Myles Garrett has a sore hamstring and has started working out on the side with trainers. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi has missed three days with a groin injury. Wide receiver Damion Ratley has yet to practice with a hamstring injury and punter Jamie Gilliam has missed two days with on unknown illness. This is concerning considering Gilliam had previously tested positive for Covid-19. After coming off the PUP list, safety Karl Joseph and wide receiver Jarvis Landry are practicing every other day as a precaution.
As practice resumes on Saturday, August 22, General Manager Andrew Berry needs to address depth at linebacker. On a zoom call with the local media, Linebacker coach Jason Tarver felt comfortable with B.J. Goodson, Sione Takitaki, rookie Jacob Phillips, Tae Davis and converted safety Montrel Meander. With Goodson having the most starting snaps in the NFL at 44, veteran depth is needed. Although CB Kevin Johnson was having a great first week of practice, the cornerback position for the Browns seems to have very good depth behind Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. Terrance Mitchell, Donovan Olumba, UDFA A.J. Green and waiver wire pick-up M.J. Stewart are showing flashes during practices. Though it’s early, the coaching staff needs to get a handle on these injuries, while also keeping practice at an intense level, With no pre-season games, every practice matters. The Browns can’t afford to have a long list of “walking wounded” prior to playing week one opponent Baltimore.