Lauvao sustains injury
CLEVELAND – It’s never a good sign to see someone driving a cart on a football field, unless it’s carrying beverages on a hot sunny day.
The cart that arrived on the Browns’ practice field Monday brought no relief. If anything, it might have carried off some distressing news that could impact the offense.
Starting right guard Shaun Lauvao went to the ground during a one-on-one pass protection drill with defensive tackle Phil Taylor late in the practice. He was taken from the field on the cart.
Coach Rob Chudzinski had no details when he addressed reporters shortly after the incident. He was in wait-and-see mode.
“We’ll have to see what the injury is,” Chudzinski said. “(Jason) Pinkston has been working there. We have some young guys that we need to get some work during the course of these preseason games.”
The Browns are fortunate in having depth on the offensive line, but Lauvao’s injury would hurt the cause nonetheless. The only guards with starting experience are Lauvao, John Greco and Pinkston. Greco has been working with the first team on the left side, with Pinkston backing up on both sides and getting some reps with the first team.
Ryan Miller, who appeared in eight games last season as a rookie, suffered what could be a season-ending head injury earlier in camp. He was practicing at tackle but could have been a candidate to move to guard.
Pinkston suddenly becomes a focal point if Lauvao is out for an extended period of time. He started all 16 games at left guard in his rookie year of 2011 and the first six of last season before going down with a blood clot in a lung.
“We still have a few weeks before we actually play,” Pinkston said. “I have some things I can work on. There’s enough time for me to get that accomplished before we play Miami.”
There was concern Pinkston might not return this season because of the seriousness of the illness. He noticed that he was feeling less than 100 percent and had lost weight early last season. He played in week six against the Bengals but began coughing up blood. The blood clot was diagnosed the next week.
“I remember knowing something was really wrong,” said Pinkston of his feeling during the game against the Bengals. “I wasn’t sure what it was, but I was happy because we had just beaten Cincinnati.”
Not even Pinkston is sure if he’s back to where he was at physically before the blood clot.
“I’m still getting there,” Pinkston said. “I still have a long way to go. I’ve been out of the game for six or seven months. It’s still going to take some time getting used to.”
Pinkston is more comfortable on the left side, which is where Greco seems to have found a home.
“I’m not used to having my right hand down, but as I do it more I’m starting to get better with some things,” Pinkston said. “It’s going to be work.”
Greco is taking a cautious approach. He would seem to be more adaptable to a change of sides.
“The coaches will make it work,” Greco said. “They’ll shuffle guys around if they need to. Hopefully Shaun is OK.”