The bigger concern for Cleveland is at right guard and running back. The Browns are deciding whether running back Dion Lewis (fractured leg) is done for the season or could be a candidate for the injured reserve-designated to return list, league sources told The Plain Dealer. Either way, Lewis is going to miss significant time at point where he had become the favorite to back up Trent Richardson.
The injury to Lewis is compounded by the fact the Browns are already without Montario Hardesty, last year’s backup running back. The often-injured Hardesty is expected to miss two to three regular-season games after recently undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The Browns’ options right now at the No. 2 running back spot is either Brandon Jackson, who has eight carries over the past two seasons, or Chris Ogbonnaya, who has taken over as the starting fullback this training camp. Cleveland can also pick up a running back released elsewhere after the final major cutdown.
The picture isn’t any brighter at right guard. Jason Pinkston suffered a high ankle sprain and will most likely be out at least four weeks, according to The Plain Dealer. Under that timetable, the Browns couldn’t expect him back until the third game of the regular season. Shawn Lauvao is expected to miss two to three games in the regular season after having his ankle scoped last week.
So, what are the Browns going to do at right guard for the first couple of weeks? On Thursday night, the Browns replaced Pinkston with Garrett Gilkey. Who ever thought the seventh-round pick from Division II Chadron State would possibly be the first rookie out of this year’s draft class to start this season?
This is why Mingo is the least of the Browns’ worries.
“It was a tough night from an injury standpoint,” coach Rob Chudzinski said after the Browns’ 24-6 preseason win over the Detroit Lions. “But that’s the game. Guys get injured and others have to step up in their place.”