Second-year linebacker Jacob Phillips was expected to play an important role for the Cleveland Browns this season.
The 2020 third-round draft pick has the speed and tackling ability Joe Woods looks for in his defensive scheme.
But Phillips could miss the entire season after a fluke injury during yesterday’s practice.
Browns’ linebacker Jacob Phillips tore his biceps tendon and is now most likely to miss the season, per source. Phillips was the Browns’ 2020 3rd-round pick and a key contributor on defense.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 20, 2021
The team confirmed this morning that Phillips tore his bicep tendon, an injury that normally takes months to heal.
Several reporters posted what appears to be the play that caused the injury.
New York Giants halfback Cullen Gillaspia cuts and crosses in front of Phillips, who reaches out for a piece of his jersey.
Confirmed. #Browns LB Jacob Phillips has a torn bicep tendon and will likely miss the entire 2021 season. You can see it on this play. Horrible. pic.twitter.com/fe4uqO940I
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) August 20, 2021
But Phillips immediately lets go and grabs his left arm.
He left the field cradling his elbow and did not return.
What It Means For Jacob Phillips
Cleveland put out word that Phillips’ season is in jeopardy, which could mean Phillips suffered a complete tear.
Such an injury requires a surgical repair and a lengthy rehab.
Even a partial tear not requiring surgery can take 4-5 months to heal enough to lift or tackle.
At this point of his career, the Browns are likely to put him on season-ending injured reserve.
#Browns LB, Jacob Phillips, will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2021.
After the 2020 Draft, GM Andrew Berry said, "Jacob really has the physical characteristics of what we would consider our modern-era LB". 🔥
Do you think @jacobphillips_1 could break out in 2021? pic.twitter.com/siFAA0XlaW
— The Hottest Take (@Hottest_TakePod) April 23, 2021
Bicep tears typically mean the tendon pulls away from where it attaches to the bone.
But the muscle itself is actually intact.
Players like Jason Peters have played through bicep tears at the shoulder side.
Phillips’ tear is at the elbow, and will almost certainly cost him the season.
But barring complications, he should be back to compete for a roster spot in 2022.
What It Means For the Browns
Andrew Berry added Anthony Walker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Tony Fields in the offseason.
He also re-signed Malcolm Smith and Elijah Lee to compete with Phillips, Sione Takitaki and Mack Wilson.
Cleveland also has a full complement of defensive backs and a loaded front line.
That led to some speculation about how many linebackers would be carried on the roster.
But the group has been bitten by the injury bug more than any other.
#Browns lost Jacob Phillips and Sione Takitaki to injuries during the #Giants practice. Mack Wilson was idle, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah got 1st team reps
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 19, 2021
Walker missed time with a knee and Mack Wilson is nursing a low-grade shoulder sprain.
Fields has had trouble getting on the field with foot injuries all season.
And yesterday, Takitaki tweaked a hamstring that should end his week of practice.
Cleveland could bring back the just-released Montrel Meander as a camp body.
But the team is probably not at the point where they need to look for a bigger contributor.
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