It'll be the third game out of the last five Njoku will have missed because of an injury. He missed two games — Week 8 against Cincinnati and Week 10 against Miami — due to a high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 7 against Baltimore.
Njoku made arguably the catch of the season against the Buccaneers when he pulled in a 12-yard, one-handed touchdown catch with 32 seconds remaining in regulation to help force overtime.
"Yeah, obviously it’s extremely tough, no matter the circumstances really, to miss a game, especially when you’re having a great year," tight end Harrison Bryant said Friday. "So we’re all talking to him, keeping him up and obviously he’s working really hard to be back as fast as possible. I’m not sure exactly what exactly is wrong with it, but he’s going to be back ready to go soon and keep playing well."
For the season, Njoku is third on the Browns in both receptions (41) and receiving yards (464), and second in receiving touchdowns with two. He had five catches on seven targets for 29 yards against Tampa Bay.
Harrison Bryant once again in focus with David Njoku on sideline
With Njoku out, that once again puts the onus on Bryant and Pharaoh Brown to pick up the slack for the tight end position. Bryant has 23 catches for 179 yards and a score this season, while Brown has four catches for 34 yards.
"I wouldn’t say too much changes for me because I come in and prepare the same way every week," Bryant said. "So whatever I’m asked to do out there this weekend, I’m just going to go out there and do my best and do whatever I can to help the team win."
Deshaun Watson returning from suspension could mean even more targets for the tight ends. Over his career, Watson has thrown 104 regular-season touchdown passes, with 21 of those going to tight ends.
Bryant's aware of the reputation Watson has for throwing to the tight end. Whether or not that means more opportunities for him this Sunday, he's waiting to see.
"I wouldn’t say specifically, but I know that when you watch older film and just in the past watching games where he was playing, he did target his tight ends," Bryant said. "They had some good tight ends there. So whatever opportunities we’re presented this weekend in the tight end room, we’re going to go out there and try to make the most of all of them."
Cornerbacks Greg Newsome II, A.J. Green both back on the field
The Browns will return cornerbacks Greg Newsome II and A.J. Green after both were in the concussion protocol for some length of time. Both have been on the field for all three practices this week.
Newsome sustained a concussion in practice on Nov. 18, two days before the Browns played Buffalo in Detroit. He had missed the last two games.
It's the second time in as many years Newsome has missed time due to a concussion sustained in a Friday practice before a game. He would missed three games after he suffered one on Dec. 10 last year.
“I have had a concussion in high school," Newsome said. "Last year was my first one [in the NFL]. That one was scary. This one was more mild. Obviously, I was out a shorter period of time so this one was more mild.”
Green left last Sunday's game in the first half and was evaluated for a concussion. While he was put in the protocol, he was at least a limited participant in all three practices this week, including a full participant on Thursday and Friday.
Cornerback Denzel Ward, who did not practice on Thursday due to hamstring and ankle issues, was back on the practice field on Friday. Coach Kevin Stefanski said the hamstring issue Ward dealt with was just "some tightness."
"It’s huge," Newsome said of the secondary's health. "The most healthy teams are the most successful teams. So it’s definitely going to be huge for all of us to get back out there."
Myles Garrett keeps battling through shoulder pain, double teams
There's two things that Myles Garrett is going to have to battle through the rest of the season. One is the pain he's feeling in his injured left shoulder, and the other is constant double teams.
Both of them, though, are things Garrett has gotten adjust to handling.
Garrett was in obvious pain after the Browns' win over Tampa Bay, so much so that he faced multiple questions about if he was contemplating taking a game off to allow it some time to heal. On Friday, he acknowledged that it was still "sore" and "achy."
“Yeah, that is just what it is," Garrett said. "As soon as it is ready to settle in and feel a bit better going in and make another play or getting hit, whatever it is. That is part of the game.”
What's also been part of the game has been the double teams Garrett has dealt with every game. That includes the one against the Buccaneers where it was combo block between the tackle and guard that exacerbated the shoulder injury.
Garrett has the highest pass rush win rate in the league among edge defenders at 30%, according to ESPN Analytics. Meanwhile, he's also been double-teamed as much as anyone in the league as well.
"I remember the last year and the last two years I have been double teamed a lot," Garrett said. "I feel like it has been that Jets game and the Steelers game where they just walked the tight end to whatever side I went to whether I switched or not. It was funny to see. It kind of made me feel good as far as the respect that they are paying me, but damn, I want to make some plays, too.”
Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: David Njoku ruled out for Cleveland Browns against Houston Texans