Left guard Eric Steinbach had successful surgery to repair a disc problem in his back, but the Browns will place him on injured reserve today, coach Pat Shurmur said.
"He was a starter, so we're gonna have to make some decisions to see who plays left guard for us," Shurmur said. "So we'll be going through that process."
Steinbach left practice on Aug. 17 with the injury and has been sidelined since. Rookie Jason Pinkston, a fifth-round pick, has replaced Steinbach as the starting left guard. Steinbach did not miss an offensive snap during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
"He’s been incredibly durable," left tackle Joe Thomas said. "He’s been a huge asset to our offense, so it is a big blow not having him out there. But it’s the 'next-man-in' mentality. We’ve gotta have somebody step up there. Hopefully it’ll be Pinkston."
Shurmur said the team's recent decision to claim offensive lineman Oniel Cousins off waivers wasn't related to Steinbach's status. Cousins served as a backup right tackle during practice today.