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Practice notes: Browns OL Eric Steinbach has back surgery

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 30, 2011

The Browns practiced today in preparation for Thursday's preseason finale against the Chicago Bears. Here's what you need to know about the team's most recent practice:

  • Operation needed: Left guard Eric Steinbach had surgery to repair a disc problem in his back, coach Pat Shurmur said today in his post-practice news conference. It has not been determined whether Steinbach is out for the season. "Eric Steinbach is having surgery this morning," Shurmur said. "He's having surgery on his back. I think the surgery started around 10 o'clock. We've been trying to call and get an update, and we haven't heard anything yet. I'd hate to speculate as to what's gonna happen with that. He kind of made the decision yesterday, late in the day, that he was gonna finally have the surgery. (Doctors) tried to do some treatments to see if it would rectify itself. It didn't, so that was the next action." Steinbach left practice on Aug. 17 with the injury. He hasn't practiced since. Rookie Jason Pinkston, a fifth-round pick, has replaced Steinbach as the starting left guard. "Until we know what's happened from the surgery, it's hard to say (whether Steinbach will be placed on injured reserve)," Shurmur said. "We should know that very soon, and we won't keep that information from you. And if he is out for the year, we'll put him on IR." Shurmur said the team's decision to claim offensive lineman Oniel Cousins off waivers wasn't related to Steinbach's status. Cousins served as a backup right tackle during practice today.

  • Injured but watching: Tight end Benjamin Watson (hip), weakside linebacker Chris Gocong (pinched nerve), wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (finger surgery) and defensive tackle Travis Ivey (unspecified) started practice on exercise bikes and were sidelined. Offensive lineman Tony Pashos sat out team drills for precautionary reasons, Shurmur said. "He's fine," Shurmur said of Pashos. "We had made the decision that we were going to limit some reps on him. That's all." Shurmur said Watson has a hip injury, but "he'll be out here (practicing again) very quickly." Shurmur said Mitchell was held out to "let that finger settle down a little bit."

  • Injured and missing: In addition to Steinbach, running back Brandon Jackson (toe), middle linebacker Titus Brown (high-ankle sprain) and rookie strong safety Eric Hagg (knee surgery) did not appear on the field today. When asked if Jackson will need surgery, Shurmur said, "No. He's in a cast. He has a toe injury. He's in a cast, and it's settling down."

  • Plan concealed: Shurmur didn't reveal whether he'll play the starters Thursday in the team's preseason finale against the Chicago Bears. "We're formulating that," he said. "(The coaches are) gonna meet here later today, and we'll talk about it. But typically in the fourth preseason game, guys that we have slated to be major contributors don't play as much."


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