Two of the Browns' top-performing players suffered significant injuries in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals.
RB Kareem Hunt (calf) and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) will be sidelined for multiple weeks, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. Both players suffered their injuries in the fourth quarter of Cleveland's 37-14 loss to the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.
Stefanski said the team would work through the roster mechanics in the coming 24-48 hours and admitted he likely wouldn't know who all was available for Thursday's game against the Broncos until much closer to kickoff. The Browns could add players to the active roster if one or both are placed on injured reserve, a move that would require the players to miss at least three games.
"We have to be fluid in what we do. The truth is we may not know who is available to us for another 24-48 hours, if you will, so that's what we have to do," Stefanski said. "That's no different than everybody in the NFL right now. You have guys who may make it to the game and may not. That's life in the big city."
Hunt, who came into Sunday's game nursing knee and wrist injuries, suffered his injury on a failed fourth-down conversion attempt. He was not involved in the play, which was an incomplete pass on the other side of the field, but fell to the turf as he tried to walk off the field.
Hunt has been one of the Browns' top offensive players in 2021, racking up a combined 522 yards of offense and five touchdowns. His injury comes at an especially inopportune time, as his backfield running mate, Nick Chubb, is also battling a calf injury and could miss his second consecutive game Thursday.
D'Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton are the other Browns running backs on the active roster. John Kelly is the lone running back on the practice squad.
Owusu-Koramoah, the Browns' second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was in the midst of his second consecutive game with nearly every snap responsibilities before he exited with his injury. Stefanski said Owusu-Koramoah is dealing with a high ankle sprain.
"It's the NFL. Injuries are a part of the game, and we have a game on Thursday," Stefanski said. "We've got to get ready and we're going to be full speed onto the Denver Broncos."
The Browns will wait and see how QB Baker Mayfield progresses from an injury to his non-throwing shoulder before making a determination on his status for Thursday.
Mayfield writhed in pain after falling awkwardly on his shoulder in Sunday's third quarter — the second time since Week 2 he's injured his left shoulder. He received medical attention on the field and inside the team's blue medical tent before returning to action on the very next series.
Afterward, Mayfield noted he was in pain but vowed he'd be on the field for what would be his 52nd straight start Thursday. The Browns, though, will let the team's medical staff determine the proper course of action, Stefanski said.
"With any injury, I'm not the medical expert, so I will listen to the medical team here and we listen to the player," Stefanski said. "With every single player here, you treat them and have a dialogue with them. You talk to the doctors and we'll make good decisions, smart decisions with all of these guys."
Mayfield was in the midst of a tough afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium before re-injuring the shoulder. He committed three turnovers — two fumbles, one interception — and finished 19-of-28 for 234 yards and two touchdowns.
"I don't think anyone was as crisp as we needed to be," Stefanski said. "We turned the ball over three times and we had zero takeaways. We had been doing a good job of taking care of the ball up until yesterday. We were just a little too careless at times. We didn't take it away. You finish minus-3, that's just not how you're going to get a win in this league."
Other Injuries To Monitor
Stefanski said he'd know more as the week progressed when it came to the Browns' other injuries of note, including Ts Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin, WR Jarvis Landry and Chubb.
Wills and Conklin both missed Sunday's game with their respective injuries. Landry, who has been out since Week 2 with a knee injury, was designated to return Friday and participated in his first practice. Chubb did not practice at all last week as he worked his way back from a calf injury.