Running back Dion Lewis is undergoing surgery today on his fractured left fibula and rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo will have more tests conducted on his bruised lung, Browns CEO Joe Banner said.
“He’s having it right now,” Banner said of Lewis' surgery while looking at his watch at about 1:38 p.m. today.
Banner spoke to reporters this afternoon as he gave them a tour of the team’s headquarters, which underwent a four-month, $5 million renovation project.
Lewis will miss at least half of the season and possibly the entire year. He suffered the fractured fibula Thursday night with 7:52 left in the third quarter of the Browns’ preseason win over the Detroit Lions when he caught a pass from quarterback Jason Campbell for 6 yards and was tackled by linebackers Travis Lewis and Ashlee Palmer.
The Browns could place Lewis on season-ending injured reserve, or if they believe he might be able to return this year, they could put him on IR and designate him to return after Week 8 of the regular season. Banner said it’s still unknown whether Lewis could come back this season.
“We won’t have any idea until after the surgery,” Banner said. “Even then, we may or may not have any more clarity than we do right now. It just may be a matter of seeing how it heals.”
Banner also said a timetable has not been solidified for the return of Mingo, who suffered a bruised lung in the first quarter against the Lions and spent two nights in the hospital.
“No, we really don’t [know how long he’ll be out],” Banner said. “I think he’s going to go through some tests soon. [The timetable is] still fairly open-ended. Hopefully we’ll get more information soon and have a better idea.”
Mingo is expected to be out for at least a week or two, a league source told the Beacon Journal, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation. He’ll sit out the Browns’ “dress rehearsal” preseason game Saturday at the Indianapolis Colts and probably the exhibition finale Aug. 29 against the Chicago Bears.
Banner made it clear the Browns won’t push Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, to return until he’s fully recovered.
“I think you’ve got to make sure he’s fully healthy before you put him back out there and then he should be at no greater risk than anybody else, at least as I understand it,” Banner said. “But you’ve got to make sure. With any injury if you put him out when they’re only 75 percent healed, you’re at greater risk of something happening. So we’ve got to make sure he’s fully good to go.”
Hours after being released from the hospital Saturday, Mingo spoke to reporters, insisted he felt fine and said didn’t suffer any broken ribs even though he experienced shortness of breath and spit up blood on the sideline Thursday night. He also said he thinks he was hurt on the opening kickoff, but he’s not 100 percent sure because he didn’t absorb a big hit that he could specifically identify as the cause of his bruised lung.
“Anytime a player gets hurt, especially one where it’s sort of ambiguous -- some of these injuries are, ‘I did this, OK, that’s two weeks. You did this, that’s eight weeks' -- obviously the range of this being from minor to quite serious is larger than most injuries,” Banner said. “But you know we’ve got top quality medical people, and they were fairly quickly able to assure us and get him in a place where we were able to determine that he was in good shape. Mostly it was initial, ‘What is that? How’d that happen?’ But I think as soon as you understood, we were at a point where the medical people had done enough to make us feel confident that it wasn’t going to be a big deal.”