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September 7, 2013 - Mike McLain
Injuries have been among the storylines in the NFL this year, and the Cleveland Browns weren't fortunate enough to escape unscathed.
Running backs Dion Lewis and Montario Hardesty were lost for the season -- Lewis with an ankle injury and Hardesty with multiple injuries. The loss of Lewis was big because coach Rob Chudzinski had planned for Lewis to give Trent Richardson an occasional break with the hope he could provide a spark similar to what Darren Sproles did in San Diego and New Orleans.
A potentially big loss is rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who is still on the mend from a bruised lung. It's a mysterious injury that could sideline Mingo well into the season. Doctors will have to closely monitor his condition and make sure he's fully healthy before clearing him to play.
The offensive line took hits when guards Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston both went down with ankle injuries. Pinkston is on injured reserve/designated for return, which means he'll miss the first eight weeks of the season. Lauvao should return sooner.
Further complicating matters were injuries at practice last Thursday to cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder) and defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin (calf). Both were listed as questionable.
There's not much depth at cornerback. The defense is set with Joe Haden on one side, but if Skrine can't play it likely means a start for Chris Owens, who's coming off an injury. Rookie Leon McFadden isn't ready for starting duty at this time.
Few teams enter the regular season in prime shape, but it seems that the Browns have been hit a bit harder. That's not a good sign for a team that isn't blessed with frontline talent across the board.
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