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Browns cornerback Buster Skrine undergoes thumb surgery, status is week to week

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 18, 2014

Browns cornerback Buster Skrine had thumb surgery Monday, and his status is considered week to week, the team confirmed.

ESPN's Adam Caplan first reported the surgery.

On Saturday, Browns coach Mike Pettine said Skrine is expected to be ready to play in the Sept. 7 regular-season opener at Pittsburgh.

“I’m not sure how long he’ll be, but we think he should be available for the opener," Pettine said. "He injured his thumb, but we’re confident that he should be ready to go for Pittsburgh."

Skrine suffered the injury Friday, left practice and did not return. Despite the eighth overall pick in this year's draft, Justin Gilbert, pushing him, Skrine still held the starting spot on the depth chart opposite Pro Bowler Joe Haden until he was hurt. In Skrine's absence, Gilbert will start Monday night at Washington.

“I think if you were ranking guys at how good of a camp they’ve had, he’d be right up there at the top,” Pettine said of Skrine. “He goes out every day, competes, smile on his face, loves to play. He’s had his share of mistakes. [But] I think he’s a guy that’s improved. He loves to compete, and he doesn’t just want to hand the job over to Justin Gilbert. I don’t think you can have enough corners in today’s NFL, and Buster’s a guy that’s going to have an important role for us.”

Skrine became a full-time starter last season. He played all 16 games, starting 15.

Skrine was either the NFL’s leader in passes defensed or among the leaders, depending on who counted. The Browns credited him with 23. STATS LLC gave him 19. He had 15 by’s count, which tied for the league lead with Atlanta Falcons 2013 first-round pick Desmond Trufant.

But Skrine also ranked 105th among 110 cornerbacks in PFF’s rankings. According to the website, he tied for the most touchdown passes surrendered with nine, and he allowed a passer rating of 95.3 on balls thrown into his coverage.

Still, Skrine progressed throughout training camp and appeared to be better than ever.

"He was working his tail off," Gilbert said. "And to see him go down like that, I’m just praying for a speedy recovery."


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