Cleveland Browns ‘Devastated’ By Big Star surgery…

Nobody knows how it happened or when it happened. But it happened, and it has left the Cleveland Browns reeling.

Cleveland Browns 'Devastated' By Deshaun Watson's Season-Ending Injury

Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was finally healthy again, led his team to a dramatic 33-31 victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday in Baltimore. Three days later, Watson was diagnosed with a fracture in his throwing shoulder that will require season-ending surgery.

“I felt something towards the end of the first quarter,” Watson said. “I kind of recognized something was wrong but during the midst of the game and everything going on, I was just trying to lock in on the next play.”

Deshaun Watson out for season Cleveland Browns

Watson underwent tests on Monday, “and that’s when I found out from the doctors that it was something worse than what we thought it was.”

Worse for Watson personally, and devastating for the Browns organizationally. Winners of four of its last five games, Cleveland, with a record of 6-3, seemed to be gaining momentum in its push for a spot in the playoffs, or perhaps even its first division championship in 34 years.

Watson’s injury changes all that, despite Browns executive vice-president and general manager Andrew Berry’s pronouncement that, due to all the adversity the team has faced this season, including losing Watson and running back Nick Chubb to season-ending injuries, Cleveland’s players, coaches, and staff “have grown Teflon skin and cast-iron stomachs.”

The Browns, and their fans were still celebrating the team’s win over the Ravens, when the bad news was delivered on Wednesday.

“We are very disappointed and devastated for Deshaun, especially given all that he has battled and gone through medically this season, especially in light of how well he’s played since his most recent injury,” said Berry.

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In addition to his fractured shoulder, Watson also suffered a severe ankle injury and left the locker room Sunday wearing a walking boot.

“I’m incredibly disappointed for the kid,” said Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski. “He battled like crazy to get back out there, then for what he did (in Sunday’s game) was even more remarkable.” In leading the Browns to a last-second victory in Baltimore, Watson completed every one of his 14 second half passes, while playing with a fractured shoulder, and ankle sprain.

His first start was a surprise start on October 1, against Baltimore. Watson was expected to start that game, but was scratched 90 minutes before kickoff due to a sore shoulder.

Emergency starter Thompson-Robinson, in his first NFL game, completed 19 of 36 passes for 121 yards, with three interceptions, four sacks and a quarterback rating of 25.3.

Stefanski is hoping the rookie will be more comfortable in his second NFL start Sunday vs. the Steelers. “I want to give him a week when he knows he’s the starter and he gets a full week of preparation,” Stefanski said.

Backing up Thompson-Robinson on Sunday will be P.J. Walker, who in October started two games and played the bulk of a third, after Watson left with an injury. All three games were close: a 19-17 win over San Francisco, a 39-38 win over Indianapolis, and a 24-20 loss to Seattle.

In those three games Walker completed 49% of his passes, for 618 yards, with one touchdown, five interceptions and seven sacks. The five interceptions may have resonated in a negative way with Stefanski, given that the Browns lead the NFL with 19 giveaways.

With Watson done for the year, Berry said he intends to add a third member to the Browns’ quarterback room. Team officials have taken some criticism for going into the season without an experienced backup quarterback. That criticism was low-hanging, but perfectly justifiable fruit, given that prior to the start of the season the Browns traded the experienced, and highly-regarded backup Joshua Dobbs to Arizona, a decision that is now coming back to haunt the team.

“I’m not really focused on that right now,” said Berry. “We do have a lot of confidence in our quarterback room.”

That room will be tested for the remainder of the season, but there is a precedent that Berry was quick to point out.

“We remain laser focused on the task at hand,” he said, “especially given the fact that we have eight more games in front of us. . . You think about 2017 when the Eagles won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, or San Francisco last year when they got down to their third string quarterback and made it to the NFC championship game.”

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