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5 Observations: Josh McCown feeling better, status still uncertain vs. Arizona

1) McCown feeling better, uncertain about status vs. Arizona

Josh McCown didn't practice Wednesday and his status for Sunday's game remains uncertain, but the veteran quarterback admitted he's come a long way since he walked off the Edward Jones Dome field with injuries to his throwing shoulder and ribs.

His coach has seen the same kind of improvement as the days since Cleveland's loss to St. Louis have unfolded.

"He looked how we all felt," Pettine said. "A lot of guys, it is amazing what a couple days off will do for you to get you back going. Afterward, it didn't look good, and when you watch the tape, he took some unnecessary hits, but as we all know, he is as tough as nails."

With McCown on the sidelines, Johnny Manziel took the first-team repetitions as Cleveland began its on-field preparations for the Arizona Cardinals, who boast yet another top-ranked defense that will line up against the Browns.

McCown said he hadn't thrown since Sunday but hoped to later in the day Wednesday.

"As long as it responds, it is pleasant. I will put it that way," McCown said. "At this age, as long as you start to feel better, you feel good about that. I feel better from yesterday to today, so hopefully that keeps up."

While the Browns would certainly love McCown to practice as much as possible leading into Sunday's game at FirstEnergy Stadium, there's no hard and fast cutoff before Pettine makes the decision.

"The good thing about it is we are carrying over a lot of concept stuff that he has practiced and stuff that he's thrown in games," Pettine said. "As far as getting those actual reps in practice, at this point, it is important, but I wouldn't put a ton of stock into it. We will see where he is, and at the end of the week, we will have enough information to make a decision."

2) Other injuries of note

The Browns returned three injured defensive starters -- DB Joe Haden, DB Tashaun Gipson and LB Craig Robertson -- but saw a handful of others remain sidelined.

Tight end Rob Housler (hamstring), safety Jordan Poyer (shoulder) and wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. Hawkins is in the league's concussion protocol.

Pettine indicated it was too early to determine whether veteran Dwayne Bowe or any other player would be active Sunday if Hawkins were unable to play.

"We'll make that decision at the end of the week," Pettine said. "We have a rough idea, and we'll practice our plan how we think it should play out, but some of those decisions will be based on how practice goes."

A photographic look at the past week, from player arrivals, to the St. Louis game, to the Tuesday visit to UH Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital.

3) Gipson thrilled to be back

Gipson couldn't stomach the thought of missing four consecutive games for the second straight season. It's why a sense of relief fell over the Pro Bowl safety when he realized he'd be ready to practice Wednesday after last setting foot on the field Oct. 4.

"I know what I'm capable of and, come hell or high water, I was not missing four games in a row, I just couldn't do that to my teammates," Gipson said. "I missed a substantial amount of time this summer and that's not something that I want to let those guys down. I want those guys to know they can depend on me and I'm going to go out there and I'm going to play my game. I'm going to play fast do what's needed in this defense and whatever I have to do to get this thing right."

Gipson and Haden are primed to return to a secondary that is looking to create more turnovers and match the standard it set through the second half of last season. His optimism about what not only his position group, but also the entire team can accomplish in 2015 hasn't waned.

"We have time to turn this thing around," Gipson said. "It's not over for sure."

4) Par for the course for McCown

McCown joked his body doesn't typically feel right until February, but the veteran stressed his 13th season hasn't been any tougher on his body than the previous 12.

"At the end of the day for us as players, I think you just want to make sure things are structurally good," said McCown, who was sidelined with a concussion in September and battled through a swollen hand a couple of weeks ago. "As soon as you can get it to where it is a pain tolerance thing than in my mind you have to be ready to go. That is how I see it."

On a typical game week, McCown says his body feels back to normal by Thursday or Friday. It all depends on how many hits he takes in a given game.

The last thing he's looking for is sympathy.

"It is part of the job description," McCown said. "I don't really think about it too much as far as that goes. As long as you can go out there and know that you are not going to injure yourself any further or anything like that, then in my mind you have to be ready to go."

5) Turbin ready for whatever Browns hand him

Robert Turbin said he isn't 100 percent healthy and may not be for the rest of his first season with the Browns but is ready for whatever workload the coaches hand him.

"Once you get into the game, once you get into the flow of the game, the injuries you can feel it here and there, especially when you're on the sidelines and defense is on the field. It can start to creep up on you a little bit but ultimately I'm trying to win so it's whatever it takes," Turbin said. "I'll care about my ankle when the game is over."

Turbin has 15 carries for 57 yards in the past two games. His 22-yard run in Sunday's game at St. Louis was the longest by any Browns running back since Week 4.

"I don't know if he'd say he's 100 percent back, but he's close and certainly showed on the long run, especially, and a couple others what he's capable of," Pettine said. "We're pleased that he's here and looking forward to more production."

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