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Injury updates and other notes as Browns eye season finale at Baltimore


With an updated injury report in his hand, Mike Pettine couldn't do anything but crack a joke.

The list of injured Browns only increased as the week progressed, eliciting the coach to say Friday even he was questionable for Sunday's season finale at Baltimore.

Among the 12 listed on the report, 11 have played significant snaps throughout the season. Two, of course, are quarterbacks, as rookie Connor Shaw is slated to make his first career start in his first career game while Brian Hoyer (shoulder) and Johnny Manziel (hamstring) deal with their respective injuries.

The defense, though, could be without even more significant pieces than the offense, as veteran defensive end Ahtyba Rubin was ruled out with an ankle injury while Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder) and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (thumb) are questionable. Another key defensive lineman, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen (leg), was placed on season-ending injured reserve earlier in the week.

Pettine said time has helped Haden's injury, which kept him out of last week's game at Carolina, but it was too early to tell if he'll be available against the Ravens.

Rubin, who played through injuries most of the season, said he wouldn't need surgery.

"I just got to get healthy," Rubin said. "That's all I'm thinking about right now."

With three members of an already depleted defensive line potentially out, the timing couldn't be better for John Hughes' return to the field. Hughes has missed the past seven games with a knee injury.

Considered a key run-stopper, Hughes will rejoin a Cleveland defense that has surrendered 453 rushing yards in the past two games.

"I thought right before he got hurt he was playing at a high level," defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil said. "He was probably one of our best run-defending defensive linemen that we had so it hurt us, obviously, when he went down. He does a really good job getting where we knock them back at the point of attack, and he does a really good job shedding blocks and getting in on tackles.

"I'm hoping, I'm optimistic that he will be able to pick up right where he left off but also I have managed expectations because he really hasn't played in seven weeks."

On offense, center Ryan Seymour, who started the previous three games at the position, did not practice all week and is out with a hamstring injury. Nick McDonald, who started in place of injured veteran Alex Mack before Seymour replaced him, is expected to fill the void.

Tight end Gary Barnidge (ribs), wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (thumb), linebacker Jabaal Sheard (foot), tight end Ryan Taylor (elbow) and cornerback K'Waun Williams (hamstring) were limited participants at Friday's practice and are considered questionable. Wide receiver Marlon Moore (knee) is probable.

All smiles about Miles

Miles Austin vowed he'd remain with the team despite his season-ending kidney injury, and he made good on his promise.

The veteran wide receiver has been a fixture on the Browns sidelines since he was discharged from a Buffalo hospital earlier this month. A free agent at the end of the year, Austin has been a de facto wide receivers coach on the practice field and even on the road at games.

"It's the kind of guy he is," Pettine said. "He was wanting to come on the trip to Carolina, here it is around the holidays and maybe wanted to get away from it all for a day. He's that kind of guy. It just speaks volumes of his character that he would want to.

"I think the other guys even asking him, too, 'Hey, you're going to be around?' They respect him that much and just his ability that he can put it in veteran's terms for these guys. He's such a good role model."

Quote to note

"Jacoby Jones ripped off a 45-yarder against Houston last week – he is dangerous. I told my girls that not a lot of people get to see Santa Claus come down the chimney, but I did because I'm just awake thinking about him so I was able to see him come down. I did not take any pictures." -- Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, talking about the Ravens' return man

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