Browns wide receiver David Nelson returned to practice today after being on the sideline in training camp since Aug. 1.
As a member of the Buffalo Bills, Nelson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the season opener on Sept. 9 against the New York Jets last season. He then signed a one-year deal with the Browns in April.
After missing the first full-squad practice of camp, Nelson participated in the next six. On Aug. 1, he left that practice and had sat out until he returned to individual drills today.
Nelson said a bone bruise in his surgically repaired knee has kept him out. He said the bone bruise was not related to the ACL injury.
"The injury that I had [the bone bruise] didn't have anything to do with the surgery," Nelson said. "It was completely separate from the surgery. It just happened to be on the same knee. It just happened to be in the same area. It was a separate injury. That's what was frustrating about it. I was making progress with the work I had been doing on the surgically repaired knee. Just a separate, freak deal."
Nelson said he hopes to play Aug. 24 in the Browns' third preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. He said he's ahead of schedule in his rehab.
"We’re definitely ahead of schedule," Nelson said. "So it was really really great to be out there today, and we’re definitely taking steps in the right direction."
Nelson said this camp has been more frustrating than last season because he's been close to getting onto the field, but he hasn't been able to do so consistently.
"I'd say these past two weeks were harder than the entire year of last year," he said. "Just because the fact I'm here, coming out here, doing a couple of routes, doing a couple of days, getting back into team work, getting back into the feel of things, kind of feeling like I'm a a part of the team and then taking a step back."
The Browns certainly could use the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Nelson. The NFL suspended the team's No. 1 wide receiver, Josh Gordon, for the first two regular-season games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.