‘Been tough’: What we know about the Browns’ mounting injuries following hard loss in Denver

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DENVER (AP) — The Browns had already suffered more than their share of major injuries this season but still worked their way into playoff position at the end of November.

They left Denver on Sunday with a host of new injuries to key players, including their quarterback — again.

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Two weeks after losing starter Deshaun Watson to a broken throwing shoulder, Cleveland (7-4) lost his replacement, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, to a head injury late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 29-12 loss to the Broncos.

Also hurt during the game was star defensive end Myles Garrett, who said he felt something pop in his left shoulder and departed Empower Field with his arm in a sling. He’ll get scans Monday in Los Angeles, where the Browns will practice before their game next weekend against the Rams (5-6).

Wide receiver Amari Cooper (ribs) and defensive tackle Jordan Elliott (ankle) were injured, too. All were expected to undergo further evaluation to determine the severity of their injuries.

The Browns lost star running back Nick Chubb to a major knee injury against the Steelers in Week 2.

“It’s been tough,” guard Joel Bitonio said in a subdued locker room. “From the start, we’ve been a little bit banged up, not great injury luck. Anytime you lose guys in the game, you’ve got to step up. They don’t get as many practice reps and things like that. But we’re resilient, so we’re going to try to fight through that. That’s not an excuse for us. We’ve jut got to find a way to play better.”

Thompson-Robinson was hit just below his chin by Broncos linebacker Baron Browning just as he released a pass. Browning was flagged for roughing the passer, and P.J. Walker replaced Thompson-Robinson for the remainder of the game.

“He’s battling, and as you know, he took a shot there, unfortunately,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “You never want to see your quarterback get hit like that, but he battled.”

Thompson-Robinson will have to progress through the NFL’s concussion protocol in order to play next week. Walker and newly signed veteran Joe Flacco are the Browns’ other options.

“Injuries are part of this game, obviously. We know that,” Stefanski said. “You don’t want to lose any of your guys in game. But that’s part of our jobs, overcoming those injuries.”

  • Cleveland Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is seen after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
    Cleveland Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is seen after being injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
  • Cleveland Browns place kicker Dustin Hopkins (7) is congratulated by Corey Bojorquez after making a 24-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
    Cleveland Browns place kicker Dustin Hopkins (7) is congratulated by Corey Bojorquez after making a 24-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
  • Cleveland Browns defensive end Alex Wright celebrates after recovering a fumble by Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
    Cleveland Browns defensive end Alex Wright celebrates after recovering a fumble by Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
  • Fans are seen during the first half of an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
    Fans are seen during the first half of an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
  • Cleveland Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (17) and center Ethan Pocic (55) warm up before the start of an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
    Cleveland Browns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (17) and center Ethan Pocic (55) warm up before the start of an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
  • DENVER, COLORADO – NOVEMBER 26: Dorian Thompson-Robinson #17 and James Proche II #11 of the Cleveland Browns warm up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on November 26, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    DENVER, COLORADO – NOVEMBER 26: Dorian Thompson-Robinson #17 and James Proche II #11 of the Cleveland Browns warm up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on November 26, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Walker said he’ll be ready in the event Thompson-Robinson is unavailable.

“I’m going to do what I’ve got to do to prepare, and be ready for this week,” said Walker, who was sacked four times, including once in the end zone for a safety.

The Browns were trailing 17-12 and facing a third-and-12 at their own 23-yard line with 22 seconds left in the third quarter when Thompson-Robinson was hurt. He was looking for an open receiver when Browning closed in and planted his shoulder in Thompson-Robinson’s upper chest.

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Thompson-Robinson’s pass fell incomplete and he lay on the turf in obvious distress.

Walker entered and went 6 of 13 for 56 yards. He had to play the bulk of the fourth quarter without Cooper, the Browns’ leading receiver.

“That was tough,” Walker said. “We were out there, scrambling a little bit on offense but you’ve got to find ways to battle through it and I think this team is going to fine.”

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