Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward closed out the final practice session of the team’s minicamp in mid-June with an injury scare.
The newly extended cornerback suffered a foot injury that caused him to exit the practice field and not return.
Thankfully, an MRI showed no structural damage so Ward is considered good to go for training camp when it opens in late July.
It’s just an injury scare for #Browns CB Denzel Ward, who will be ready to go by training camp https://t.co/qhpaAi3DA8 pic.twitter.com/Pp1t8OI8Ml
— Brandon Little (@BrandonLittleFB) June 17, 2022
So is this a non-issue or should fans be concerned?
It is actually a little bit of both, and here are the reasons why.
1. This Particular Injury Seems Minor But…
This particular injury seems to be a nonissue; however, it is concerning how many injuries the Browns deal with each season, especially when they start during the preseason.
The 2020 preseason was especially difficult as both Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit were out for the season before it even started.
Williams had a nerve injury in his shoulder, and Delpit tore his Achilles tendon.
To make it even worse, both players were injured at the same practice.
Grant Delpit isn’t the only Browns DB to get hurt at practice. CB Greedy Williams injured his shoulder. Asked if Williams will miss a significant amount of time with the shoulder injury, Browns’ HC Kevin Stefanski said: “I would say we will see. Still evaluating.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 25, 2020
While injuries are part of the game and all teams deal with them, there is still a level of scrutiny that should be applied to the strength and conditioning departments of NFL teams, especially the Browns.
2. Noncontact Injuries Happen Too Often For Browns
Kareem Hunt suffered a noncontact leg injury last season that caused him to miss half of the games.
Kevin Stefanski said Kareem Hunt did suffer a calf injury, and said it was not Achilles related
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 17, 2021
Donovan Peoples-Jones suffered a groin injury in a pregame warmup against the Denver Broncos last season.
#Browns just announced that WR Donovan Peoples-Jones suffered a groin injury during pregame warmups and is now questionable to play.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 22, 2021
Are these fluke injuries that were bound to happen, or is there something more to it?
3. Playing Through Injuries Is Another Issue
There were too many examples last season of players attempting to play through injury.
Baker Mayfield and Jedrick Wills Jr. were the most notable.
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield, who has been wearing a shoulder harness to play, suffered a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder on Sept 19 vs the #Texans, sources say. No surgery needed as of now. He was listed on the report after the injury and hasn’t missed a practice snap.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 7, 2021
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski says OT Jedrick Wills has an ankle injury that is day-to-day. X-Rays were negative. Encouraging.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 13, 2021
Regardless of the reasons why those players continued to play, it is generally not a workable solution especially when the injuries happen early in the season as both Mayfield and Wills’ injuries did.
4. New Facilities Could Help
We know that the Browns are expanding the facilities for players to work out and recover.
John Johnson III talked about having yoga available for his recovery when he played with the Los Angeles Rams which the Browns did not offer when he arrived in 2021.
#Browns S John Johnson III said he told higher-ups team needs to be more proactive to prevent soft-tissue injuries. Suggested yoga and said relationship with training staff should be better.
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) January 10, 2022
The team did say some services were off-limits during COVID-19; yoga was one of them.
It appears that Browns players will have many more therapies to choose from when the new state-of-the-art regeneration area is completed.
Browns constructing new regeneration area to improve player training and recovery This sounds Really Cool! Hope the @Browns can give fans a “Virtual Tour” of this new facility. #Browns https://t.co/f6K4N72eMp
— BrownsTherapy (@BrownsTherapy) April 21, 2022
The facility is expected to be completed by the time training camp opens in late July.
Any offseason injury is significant because this is not the time when players are in pads or engaged in full contact so injuries should not happen at all.
In Ward’s case, the Browns just signed him to a monster contract extension, and they need him to be healthy and thriving in order to make a 2022 postseason run.
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