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News & Notes: Jacob Phillips, David Njoku dealing with injuries after Week 7 

Phillips’ pectoral injury is “likely” to be season-ending, while Njoku is “week-to-week” with an ankle injury


The Browns are working through unfortunate injury news to two key players — one on each side of the ball — after Sunday's loss to the Ravens.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday that LB Jacob Phillips suffered a pectoral injury that will "likely" be season-ending. TE David Njoku also suffered an ankle injury and is considered "week-to-week."

Phillips has played in all seven games this season, his third in the NFL, and has started the last four at middle linebacker. He leads the Browns with 46 tackles and has also served as the defense's "green sticker" player to relay play calls to the rest of the defense since LB Anthony Walker Jr. suffered a season-ending quadriceps injury in Week 3.

Njoku is second on the Browns with 418 receiving yards and caught all seven of his targets Sunday for 71 yards. He left Sunday’s game in the third quarter and did not return.

"I feel for all our guys when they're going through these," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "It's not fun to be hurt, it's not fun to be in the training room, not fun to get surgery and rehab and all those things."

Check out photos of the Browns against the Ravens in Week 7

Stefanski felt sympathy for Phillips, who also missed all but four games in 2021 due to a torn biceps injury.

"I know this: He responds when he has to do this," Stefanski said. "He works like crazy. I know he'll work like crazy to get back out there. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of our game. We see it too often in this league, and it's so unfortunate for the players and also Jacob, but it's also part of the game."

If Phillips does indeed miss the remainder of the season, the Browns will have to find a new player to wear the green sticker.

Linebackers coach Jason Tarver said last week that newly-acquired LB Deion Jones had already become a candidate for the role. Jones played in 33 snaps (52 percent) of the snaps Sunday in his Browns debut and tallied five tackles, but Stefanski said a new player for the job hasn't been decided.

"We'll work through all those things," he said.

Even though he's been tabbed as week-to-week, Njoku hasn't been ruled out by Stefanski for Week 8 against the Bengals.

"It's a Monday night game, so I want to get later in the week before I make that determination," he said.

In addition to Njoku, TE Pharaoh Brown is also in concussion protocol after Sunday's game. Harrison Bryant is the only other tight end on the roster.

Ward remains in protocol

In additional injury news, CB Denzel Ward, who missed his second straight game in Week 7, remains in concussion protocol, per Stefanski.

With Ward out, Greg Newsome II and rookie M.J. Emerson Jr. filled the void at the position and each played 63 snaps (98 percent). They contributed to an overall terrific performance from the defense that limited QB Lamar Jackson to just nine completions on 16 pass attempts for 120 yards. Top WR Rashod Bateman was held to 42 yards on four receptions.

Stefanski still awaiting penalty explanation

Stefanski said after the game Sunday that he was seeking an explanation from the league on the false start penalty before the Ravens blocked Cade York's 60-yard field goal attempt to tie the game. Michael Dunn, who was lined up at left guard, was flagged before the kick attempt, although replay didn't appear to show him move before a few Ravens players jumped on the right side of the line.

Stefanski said Monday he still hadn't gotten an explanation on the call.

"Not yet," he said. "I have had one phone call in. I will have another phone call later today."

York's attempt from 60 yards was also taken four yards behind the scrimmage instead of the normal 5-yard distance most kickers use when attempting field goals. Stefanski said the 1-yard move-up "is just something with (long snapper) Charley (Hughlett) and holder (P Corey Bojorquez) that we have to work through."

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