Browns place Willis on injured reserve

Published 8:15 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns placed starting left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. on injured reserve Tuesday, meaning quarterback Deshaun Watson’s blindside — and right shoulder — will be protected by someone else for at least the next four games.

Wills, who is having a solid season, sustained several injuries to his right kne e in Sunday’s 27-0 win over Arizona. The 2020 first-round pick has a sprained medial collateral ligament, low-grade posterior cruciate ligament sprain and bone bruises.

However, Wills hasn’t been ruled out for the season and the Browns (5-3) remain hopeful he’ll be back at some point in 2023. By going on IR, Wills, who played at Alabama, has to sit out a minimum of four games.

Email newsletter signup

Cleveland also placed rookie cornerback Cameron Mitchell on IR with a hamstring injury. He’s appeared in all eight games, making one start.

The Browns also signed tackle Geron Christian and wide receiver James Proche II to the active roster from the practice squad.

Christian has played in 49 NFL games and made 16 starts, including one for Houston earlier this season.

After Donovan Peoples-Jones was traded last week, the Browns moved Proche into the primary punt returner’s spot and he brought back six for 92 yards against the Cardinals.

On Monday, coach Kevin Stefanski said the coaching staff was still working through how the line will look while Wills is out.

“We have options,” he said.

One of them could be moving rookie Dawand Jones to the left side. Jones has started at right tackle since Week 1 when All-Pro Jack Conklin suffered a season-ending knee injury.

If the Browns switch Jones, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury, swing tackle James Hudson would start at right tackle.

A fourth-round pick in 2021, Hudson started three games last season and four as a rookie.

The Browns are heading into a crucial two-week stretch with games against AFC North rivals Baltimore (7-2) and Pittsburgh (5-3).

At least they’ll have Watson, who returned Sunday against the Cardinals after missing most of the past month with a strained right shoulder. Watson sat out the Oct. 1 game against the Ravens, who pounded the Browns 28-3.