Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday that Kareem Hunt, who has been sidelined since Week 6 with a calf injury, will not return to practice this week before the Browns' Week 11 game at FirstEnergy Stadium.
RB Nick Chubb, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list last week and did not play against the Patriots, has yet to return to the team and is considered "day to day."
"I don't really have an update," Stefanski said about Chubb. "We're just going to follow the protocol."
Any additional workload from the run game will be handed over to D'Ernest Johnson, who has proven to be a reliable backup all season. Johnson was given his second start of the year last week in New England and rushed for 99 yards on 19 attempts — he was just one yard away from breaking 100 yards for the second time this season.
"D'Ernest – maybe I sound like a broken record – every time he's out there, he comes through for us," Stefanski said. "I think that is an indication of the type of teammate he is because he prepares so hard. Whether you want him to play 30 snaps on special teams or carry the ball 30 times, he is going to be ready to go."
The Browns, of course, have plenty of confidence in Johnson to carry the run game whenever Chubb or Hunt are unavailable. That confidence will still be high this week as the Browns look to capitalize on their matchup advantages against the Lions, who own the 30th-ranked run defense in the league.
Johnson, however, has never been one to change his preparation workload. He still won't be changing anything this week, even though the Browns are playing a struggling run defense and are still unsure how much Johnson will be used.
"In this league, you never want to take anybody lightly because anyone is capable of beating anyone each week," Johnson said Monday. "We have to prepare well this week, and we have to be dominant come game time."
Check out exclusive photos from the practice fields at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus of the Browns preparing for their Week 11 game against the Detroit Lions
Browns rally around each other to get back on track
Despite the Browns' unsatisfied emotions of their 5-5 record, players haven't lost the team-first mantra and trust that has been prevalent in the locker room since training camp.
Those bonds have been strong as the Browns take a hard look at what they can do better and analyze where mistakes need to be eliminated. Hard critique is a must for any team to improve, and there's been plenty of that passed around — all with the goal of quickly becoming a better team.
"I just feel like if someone is not willing to tell you what you're doing wrong, then at the end of the day, they're not your brother," CB Greg Newsome II said. "In a family at home, when you're arguing with your sister or brother, they're going to tell you straight up what you want to hear and that they love you for that reason. I think we've got a great brotherhood here, and I don't think it's going to be a problem for us to self-correct, and then correct others as well."
Troy Hill update
Stefanski said the Browns have continued to receive good news regarding CB Troy Hill, who exited the game last Sunday on a stretcher after suffering a neck sprain in the fourth quarter.
Hill was taken to a Boston-area hospital, released Sunday night and cleared to return to Cleveland on Monday.
"All of the news continues to be good, which is obviously great," Stefanski said. "We will just keep bringing him along."