Hillis tops long list of Browns’ injuries

Published 1:54 am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BEREA (AP) — Coach Pat Shurmur said Monday that Peyton Hillis will not play in Cleveland’s upcoming game against St. Louis, the fourth straight game the beleaguered running back has missed since straining his left hamstring on Oct. 16.

Hillis was on track to play Sunday in Houston, but reinjured his hamstring during practice on Friday. Shurmur said Hillis will spend the week getting rehab on his nagging injury and there were no immediate plans to place the 25-year-old on injured reserve.

“Here’s where we’re at with Peyton,” Shurmur said. “We want him to get healthy. We talked about him this morning like we talked internally about the players that were injured yesterday. Our conversation about Peyton was, “How do we proceed to get him back as quickly as possible?’ That’s where we are.”

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Hillis’ second season in Cleveland has been loaded with drama and controversy. In addition to missing five games — one with strep throat — he has squabbled with the Browns over a contract extension and some off-field actions have alienated him from some teammates.

Last week, a few of Hillis’ teammates confronted him during a meeting about his behavior. Shurmur was asked if he was troubled that the nature of that conversation appeared in a news story.

“I talked to the players about making sure we keep family business family business,” Shurmur said. “How it came out and what got talked about, I’ve discussed it with the players.”

Also, Shurmur said running back Montario Hardesty “will likely miss” Sunday’s game against the Rams. Hardesty tore a calf muscle last week in San Francisco and could be out for several games.

Without his top three running backs — Brandon Jackson suffered a season-ending toe injury in August — the Browns were down Chris Ogbonnaya and Thomas Clayton, both added to the roster since Oct. 18, against the Texans. Ogbonnaya and Clayton rushed for a combined 38 yards on 18 carries.

Cleveland has the league’s second-worst running game, averaging 82.1 yards per game.

Also, starting wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was sent home Monday, still feeling the effects of his second concussion in 13 months.

Massaquoi sustained a concussion in the Browns’ Oct. 23 game against Seattle and missed last week’s game at San Francisco. He sat out one day of practice last week, but started Sunday against the Texans before being taken out late in the third quarter when he felt “woozy.”

Shurmur said the Browns are closely monitoring Massaquoi and adhering to the league’s medical policies on head injuries.

“We’re very strict with that protocol when it involves concussion situations,” he said. “And there is no wiggle room. We follow the guidelines as to when a player can be back and so, he was able to compete, he practiced, he followed all the guidelines and standards.”

Shurmur had no update on starting safety T.J. Ward, who injured his right foot in the second half Sunday. Ward, who left the stadium in a walking boot, said he heard “a pop” in the arch of his foot.