Starting left guard Jason Pinkston is in the hospital with a blood clot and won’t play Sunday when the Browns (1-5) visit the Indianapolis Colts (2-3), coach Pat Shurmur said today after practice at the team's headquarters in Berea.
The blood clot is in Pinkston's lung, and he's being treated for it at the Cleveland Clinic, a league source said.
"The news is true," Pinkston tweeted this evening. "I've been hospitalized with blood clots in my lungs. Very thankful [our] medical staff did a great job of taking action and catching it at a early stage. It's obviously clear I won't be playing for sometime but more importantly I'm thankful to be alive. Thanks for everyone's support. Coaches, teammates, friends, fans and family have been great. Just a bump in the road."
Pinkston was taken to the emergency room Thursday and then admitted to the Clinic, where he is being tested to determine the cause of the blood clot, the source said.
“He’s being treated for a blood clot, and he’s gonna miss this week,” Shurmur said. “As we go through next week, we’ll determine if he’s gonna miss an extended period of time.”
The 25-year-old Pinkston hadn’t been feeling well for the past couple of weeks, Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said. Pinkston practiced Wednesday on a limited basis and was listed on the injury report with an illness. He did not practice Thursday.
Several of his teammates visited him the hospital Thursday night.
“He seemed in good spirits, but you never want to see somebody in the hospital,” said right guard Shawn Lauvao, who visited Pinkston. “Jason’s a strong dude, so he seemed fairly in good spirits. We just want to show our support.”
The 25-year-old Pinkston was sidelined during the Browns’ first drive Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. He returned in the second quarter and then sat out again because he wasn’t feeling well.
“With a blood clot, you can actually die from it,” Lauvao said. That’s the thing about being a football player, a lot of times we’ll just fight through it even if it doesn’t feel right. He’s very fortunate they got a hold of it before it became even more severe.”
Pinkston started all six games this season. On Sunday, he played 14 of the Browns’ 65 snaps (22 percent), and backup John Greco filled in the rest of the game. Greco will start against the Colts, Shurmur said.
“Jason’s obviously a teammate and a good friend,” Greco said. “My thoughts are with him, and we’re gonna do everything we can to try to get him some wins.”
The 6-foot-4, 318-pound Pinkston, a fifth-round pick in the 2011 draft, spent the majority of this past offseason training about five times a week at LeCharles Bentley’s O-Line Academy in Avon. Pinkston said he became stronger and quicker as a result of training with Bentley, a former Pro Bowl offensive linemen with the New Orleans Saints whose NFL career ended after he suffered a knee injury and a staph infection as a member of the Browns. Pinkston also restructured his body by changing his diet.
Pinkston’s teammates and coaches noticed the changes and believed he was poised for a breakout season.
“I think he’s gonna be one of the top guards in the league,” Thomas told the Beacon Journal in August. “He’s made a big jump already from where he was last year, and he’s gonna be a great player on this line for a lot of years.”
Last year, Pinkston was thrust into a starting role as a rookie after Eric Steinbach suffered a season-ending back injury during training camp. The NFL lockout prevented him from receiving the benefits of a normal offseason, and he converted to guard after playing tackle for his entire stint at the University of Pittsburgh.
Pinkston took some lumps as a result, but he still became one of six rookie offensive linemen and one of two guards to start all 16 games last season. He became the third rookie offensive lineman to start every game for the Browns since 2007, joining Thomas and Alex Mack.
“He’s a great player,” Greco said. “He’s in his second year. I know the whole thing last year with the lockout and rookies stepping in without the full offseason, I thought he did a great job, and he was building on that this year.”