BEREA: With three key players missing practice again Thursday — running back Peyton Hillis, cornerback Joe Haden and linebacker Scott Fujita — the Browns (2-3) might have to rely on a handful of reserves when they host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
In addition to the aforementioned three players, offensive lineman Artis Hicks (back spasms) and defensive backs Buster Skrine (hip) and Ray Ventrone (hamstring) also sat out of practice Thursday while nursing their respective injuries.
“Joe Haden, I would consider him day-to-day,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “He ran [Wednesday] and he’s going to do the same [Thursday]. Peyton Hillis is day-to-day; he did not run [Wednesday], he’s going to run in the pool [Thursday].”
Fujita was sent home Thursday for the second consecutive day as he continues to suffer from symptoms from a concussion suffered Sunday in the Browns’ loss at Oakland.
Haden, who jogged for the second consecutive day, said his status for Sunday is still up in the air. However, he’s feeling better by the day after injuring his knee in the Tennessee game Oct. 2.
“Still trying to get better, still trying to figure when I’m going be back,” Haden said. “… It felt better today and I got to do a little more running, a little more change of direction to see how it felt.”
If Haden has to sit out his second game, his are big shoes to fill.
“Joe’s level of play was so high when he was out there,” Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “No matter who goes out there, it’s not going to be exactly the same because Joe is just one of those rare guys.”
Skrine, who left practice Wednesday, said he’ll practice today and expects to play Sunday.
“I feel good,” Skrine said after Thursday’s practice. “I did a little workout with the trainer. But I’ll be back out there Friday ... I know I’m playing [Sunday].”
However, Shurmur said there’s an alternate plan at cornerback in case both Haden and Skrine are not able to go Sunday.
“My feeling is they’ll both be out there,” he said. “If not, we have contingencies.”
Undrafted rookie James Dockery could be a candidate. Veteran free safeties Mike Adams and Usama Young also have experience at cornerback.
Window of opportunity
Third-year player Kaluka Maiava will play weakside linebacker Sunday if Fujita doesn’t play, which looks likely.
‘‘I’m real excited about it,” Maiava said. “I got a little playing time last game, felt like I did good and the coaches are real confident with the way I played.”
Maiava, who missed all but two games last year with an ACL injury, hopes to push for a starting spot in the near future.
“The ACL really held me back,” he said. “But it’s just more motivation for me to get out there and do good on Sundays and win games for the Browns.”
With Maiava at the Will spot, veteran Chris Gocong will slide over to play the Sam, or strongside linebacker.
“That guy’s so versatile, it’s great to have,” Maiava said. “He’s someone you can throw in wherever. He can make the checks, he can make the calls and obviously he’s a great ball player. We’re real fortunate to have a guy like that.”
Maiava also understands what the group misses if Fujita’s out.
“Scott not only is the smartest guy I’ve ever met, he’s a tough guy,” Maiava said. “He’s a seasoned vet and one of the toughest people I’ve been around. I’m sure he’ll be back real soon.”
Prayers for Harrison
Browns players learned Thursday of the news that former Browns and current Detroit running back Jerome Harrison has a brain tumor. Receiver/kick returner Josh Cribbs said he wanted to talk with Harrison before commenting. A little later, tight end Evan Moore retweeted former Browns tight end Robert Royal, who wrote: “Praying for my brother Jerome Harrison!! Hope all is well.”
Proof that the Seahawks are in the middle of rebuilding mode is this: Only eight of the current players on the 53-man roster were with the team in 2009. That’s the final year that current Browns backup quarterback Seneca Wallace played in Seattle.
“It’s totally different,” he said. “Besides a few guys, it looks like a totally different team. [Their defense uses a] lot of man coverage, a lot of different things that we usually didn’t play when I was there. Obviously they’ve got a different mentality.”
The Browns signed running back Armond Smith to the practice squad Thursday. Smith was waived Tuesday, when the team signed running back Chris Ogbonnaya. To make room for Smith, the team released running back Xavier Omon from the practice squad.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at . Follow the Browns on Twitter at and on Facebook at .