The Browns will be licking their wounds for a while after being hit with a rash of injuries during their 24-6 win over the Detroit Lions in the second preseason game Thursday night.
Rookie outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo spent a second night in the hospital with a bruised lung and was released Saturday morning, a team spokesman said. Running back Dion Lewis will undergo surgery on a fractured left fibula, and right guard Jason Pinkston could miss the early part of the regular season with a right high ankle sprain, coach Rob Chudzinski said Friday during a conference call.
Mingo is expected to be out for at least a week or two, a league source told the Beacon Journal, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Chudzinski did not give a timetable for Mingo’s return. He said the Browns haven’t been able to identify a specific play during which Mingo was hurt.
“He felt better this morning,” Chudzinski said of Mingo, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft. “He stayed overnight in the hospital. We’re going to keep him over another night as a precautionary measure. It’s a little bit too early to give you any estimates on where that stands.
“He has a bruised lung. So anytime that there’s that kind of injury, they just want to make sure everything’s OK in terms of his health and breathing and everything else.”
The Browns will visit the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 24 in their third preseason game. Mingo will sit out then and possibly miss the preseason finale Aug. 29 against the Chicago Bears.
The Browns will open the regular season at home Sept. 8 against the Miami Dolphins. Although Mingo is their backup right outside linebacker, the Browns are counting on him to be a key part of their rotation of edge rushers this year.
Lewis is one player who definitely won’t be available for the opener, and he could be out all season. He’ll need surgery after breaking his leg with 7:52 left in the third quarter, when he caught a pass from quarterback Jason Campbell for 6 yards and was tackled by linebackers Travis Lewis and Ashlee Palmer. Chudzinski said the procedure has yet to be scheduled.
“Thanks for all of the prayers,” Lewis tweeted Friday.
The Browns could place Lewis on season-ending injured reserve, or they could put him on IR and designate him to return after Week 8 of the regular season. Chudzinski said the organization will wait until roster cuts are executed at the end of the month to make a decision.
“We don’t have to make these decisions until the final roster is put together,” Chudzinski said. “At that time, you can figure out who is going [on which list].
“[Lewis] was one of the guys that had had an opportunity to show what he could do. [He was] really catching our eye.”
In April, the Browns traded backup linebacker Emmanuel Acho to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Lewis. He was listed third on the depth chart, but seemed capable of ascending to the No. 2 spot with fellow running back Montario Hardesty sidelined. Hardesty underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday, a procedure that usually calls for at least a month of recovery time.
For now, Brandon Jackson will likely serve as starter Trent Richardson’s primary backup. Chudzinski said Chris Ogbonnaya will continue to be used as a fullback and a tailback. He’s listed as the top fullback.
Pinkston, who missed the final 10 games last season after doctors discovered a blood clot in his lung, suffered a right high-ankle sprain in the first quarter when defensive tackle Nick Fairley pushed starting left guard John Greco onto the back of his leg. Recovery time from such an injury typically lasts about a month, so Pinkston might sit out the first couple of regular-season games.
Pinkston was filling in for Shawn Lauvao, who had arthroscopic ankle surgery last week. Lauvao is expected to miss the first two or three regular-season games. There are no indications Pinkston will need surgery, a league source said.
Rookie Garrett Gilkey, a seventh-round draft pick, filled in for Pinkston against the Lions. For now, he’ll hold the top spot on the depth chart.
The Browns, though, are certainly in the market for reinforcements at running back and guard.
“I’m not expecting right now necessarily bringing anybody in,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll just have to see kind of where we’re at with some of these other guys and how soon we’re expecting them back. We’ll sit down and talk a little bit more about that, but those are possibilities.”
In the meantime, the organization hopes its top draft pick bounces back from a scare. Chudzinski said medical personnel examined Mingo during the game because he was out of breath. Mingo’s ribs were not harmed, Chudzinski said.
The final play in which Mingo participated was Travis Benjamin’s 84-yard punt return for a touchdown that was nullified by Joe Haden’s holding penalty late in the first quarter. Lions safety Tyrell Johnson used his helmet and shoulder pads to strike Mingo in the midsection, blocking him as he tried to pressure punter Sam Martin. But seconds later, Mingo sprinted along the sideline and blocked Martin before getting tripped up and falling on his backside.
“There wasn’t some huge hit that would lead you to believe that was when it happened,” Chudzinski said. “So I’m not sure at what point it happened in the game, whether it was one particular hit or a combinations of hits.”
Mingo ran to the locker room early in the second quarter. Before the game ended, he was taken to the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, where he spent the night Thursday and Friday.
Tight end Gary Barnidge sprained the AC joint in a shoulder late in the first quarter, a league source said. Chudzinski said the Browns are expecting Barnidge to return to practice next week.
Undrafted rookie kicker Brandon Bogotay suffered a strained groin late in the first half, and Chudzinski listed him as day-to-day. Chudzinski said he’s “leaning toward” giving Bogotay and veteran Shayne Graham more opportunities before he decides which one will succeed Phil Dawson.
Punter T.J. Conley (strained groin) and wide receiver David Nelson (knee) didn’t play Thursday, but Chudzinski listed them as day-to-day. He said the Browns hope Nelson, who has missed most of training camp, can practice next week.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.