The Browns were slow to tell the rest of the world about Peyton Hillis' hamstring injury on Sunday, so coach Pat Shurmur fixed that on Monday. After all the speculation that has swirled around Hillis this season, Shurmur made it clear that his tailback was truly injured Sunday at Oakland.
"You can be assured that he had a hamstring injury," Shurmur said. "That you can be assured of."
The Browns, however, did a poor job of telling everybody else.
Shurmur said he was told by the team trainer in the first quarter that Hillis had a hamstring injury and was only to be used in emergencies. But the Browns insisted throughout the first half there was no injury, leaving even the CBS television crew to speculate why Montario Hardesty was taking all the snaps.
The hamstring injury wasn't announced until the third quarter. Given the sagas surrounding Hillis' contract situation and his strep throat from earlier in the season, the lengthy delay in the announcment created plenty of skeptics about the severity of the injury.
Shurmur was emphatic Monday, however. Hillis was injured in the first quarter, although he returned for a carry in the second quarter and again in the fourth quarter for pass protection purposes.
Asked why he returned to the game in the second quarter if he was injured, Shurmur said: "He was evaluated, he had a hamstring injury and that's what I was told by our trainers. I trust our guys to know exactly what the injury is."
Hillis had an MRI on his left leg today, but Shurmur offered no guess on his availability for next week.
Making all of this even more complicated is Tuesday's trading deadline. Hillis has already said he isn't sure if he has a future in Cleveland, but Shurmur said Monday Hillis is not being shopped.
"I don't want to talk about trades," Shurmur said. "No, he's not on the trading block."
In other news, Shurmur said Scott Fujita suffered a concussion and Ray Ventrone had a hamstring injury against the Raiders, but he offered no update on Joe Haden's status. Haden missed the game with a knee injury.
As for Colt McCoy, Shurmur doesn't believe his young quarterback is losing confidence despite completing less than half his passes for the third time in five games. McCoy was 21 of 45 for 215 yards against the Raiders.
"I think he's a young player working through what it takes to be an NFL quarterback," Shurmur said.
As for Josh Cribbs, who complained after the game that he isn't getting the ball enough on offense and wants to devote more time to special teams, Shurmur didn't dismiss the idea of using him more on coverage units.
"You have a player after a game who is disappointed," Shurmur said. "Josh was probably disappointed we lost. I think he had an impact on offense. We lost. I think he had an impact on offense. He did some good things for us and I'm glad he wants to have more of a role on special teams. We're trying our darndest to make sure he gets his returns and I'm glad he wants to help."
Shurmur said he "absolutely" would use Cribbs more on special teams.
"I know he's a dynamic special teams player," Shurmur said. "We give him every opportunity to make plays."
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