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Getting healthy for home stretch

Posted Nov 12, 2012

With a week to rest his ailing calf, Ahtyba Rubin returned to the field with his Browns teammates on Monday morning.

Known for his toughness and durability, fifth-year Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin missed three of the team’s final four games prior to the bye week while working his way back from a calf injury suffered in a 41-27 loss at the New York Giants on Oct. 7.

Rubin tried to play at Indianapolis (Oct. 21), but remained inactive for the team’s home games against the San Diego Chargers (Oct. 28) and Baltimore Ravens (Nov. 4).

“I’m just doing my best to work hard and get this leg right,” Rubin said Monday.

While Rubin spent most of the bye week in Cleveland trying to improve his calf muscle, fellow defensive tackle Phil Taylor continued working his way back from a torn pectoral muscle suffered during an offseason workout.

Taylor started against the Ravens and made one tackle in his first game back from the injury.

“If I’m not making plays, Phil’s making plays,” Rubin said. “We’ve got a lot of young rookies in there. Billy Winn’s making a lot of plays (with) John Hughes and you’ve got (Ishmaa’ily) Kitchen. We’re pretty deep and set on the D-line, especially the D-tackle position. I have nothing but trust in my young guys and can’t wait to see what we’re going to do Sunday.”

Rookie Billy Winn took Taylor’s spot at right defensive tackle and totaled 13 tackles, one sack, two passes broken up and a pair of fumble recoveries in nine starts. Fellow first-year defensive linemen John Hughes and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen have rotated into the lineup and Hughes started twice in place of Rubin.

Hughes registered 22 total tackles and one sack, while Kitchen made 16 stops in the first nine games of the year.

With Rubin, Taylor and defensive back Dimitri Patterson (ankle) working their ways back to the field from their injuries, other Browns have noticed their presence and appreciate the skills they bring to the defense.

“It’s going to be an awesome thing when we’re all out there healthy,” said defensive end Frostee Rucker. “We get Dimitri back soon, I hope, and it’s going to be exactly what they wanted on paper. Having not played with Phil until last week, I got a feel for how he plays football, how competitive he is and what a force he can be in the middle. Now, we’ve got both of the big guys in the middle and we’re ready to roll.”

On Sunday, the Browns return to the field for the first time in two weeks.

After their bye week, the Browns will travel to Dallas for a matchup with the Cowboys before returning home for an AFC North Division battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 25.

“We’re coming back really refreshed and pretty optimistic on the second half of the season,” Rucker said. “We left it all out there the last game and came up a little short, but we know what we’ve got and we know everybody’s going to collectively get back together and work together. We had a good, crisp practice today and this second half is going to be very huge for us. Dallas is coming off a win yesterday and we’re ready for it.”

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