Browns starting weakside linebacker Chris Gocong injured his right ankle this morning during practice and had to be carted off the field.
Gocong grabbed the back of his right leg below his calf, indicating he might have torn his Achilles tendon. Coach Pat Shurmur said Gocong is being sent to undergo an MRI.
“If it is as bad as we think, then it’s the next guy up and we’ve gotta keep going and get a positive, successful season,” said linebacker Kaluka Maiava, a candidate to replace Gocong.
Gocong suffered the injury during an 11-on-11, goal-line drill. As he tried to defend a touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cameron, he planted his right leg, then lifted it, grabbed it while the ball was in the air and fell to the ground.
Gocong could not put weight on his leg as trainers helped him onto the cart. He was visibly upset, and starting strongside linebacker Scott Fujita immediately consoled him.
Maiava and rookies James-Michael Johnson, a fourth-round pick in this year's draft, and Emmanuel Acho, a sixth-round selection, could get chances to fill in for Gocong. Linebackers L.J. Fort and Craig Robertson have also caught the attention of the coaching staff, Shurmur said.
If Gocong's injury is as serious as it appears, it would be a significant blow to the defense. Fujita is suspended for the first three games of the season for his alleged role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. Starting defensive tackle Phil Taylor suffered a torn pectoral muscle in May and won't be back until late October at the earliest.
"I don’t want an injury at any position," Shurmur said. "We just keep moving ahead, and we’ll find out again what’s wrong with Chris, we’ll find out how long he’ll be out and then we’ll keep moving forward. Nothing can stop the train. We’ve got to keep going."