CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns starting right tackle Jack Conklin will miss “multiple weeks” after dislocating his left elbow in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday he’s not entirely sure whether Conklin will need surgery. It’s likely he’ll have to go on injured reserve, which would mean Conklin will miss a minimum of three games.
Stefanski does expect Conklin to return at some point this season.
Conklin returned to the lineup Sunday after missing two games with a knee injury only to go down in the second quarter with an injury quarterback Baker Mayfield described as “nasty.” The medical staff immediately called for a cart to get Conklin, but the 2020 All-Pro was able to walk off the field cradling his left arm.
Conklin, who is in his second season with Cleveland, is undergoing further tests on Monday.
“It’s tough,” center JC Tretter said of losing Conklin. “Those injuries are scary. It puts a pit in your stomach when you see something like that. I feel terrible for Jack. You hate seeing those.”
Stefanski said Blake Hance will move into Conklin’s starting spot. Hance has been used at guard and tackle the past two seasons because of injuries. He had his hands full against Steelers star linebacker T.J. Watt, who finished with 1 1/2 sacks in Pittsburgh’s 15-10 win.
“Blake’s battled,” Tretter said. “It’s not easy to kind of be that guy that’s always got to be kind of in the bullpen ready to go, but he’s done great stepping in and going out there and providing a good value for us of being able to play both sides, being able to start.
“So kudos to him for what he’s been able to do this year being thrown into a position that probably wasn’t going to be his role going into the year but with injuries has turned into his role.”
It’s possible the Browns could try to make a trade before Tuesday’s deadline to add depth up front.
Before Conklin went out, Cleveland’s offensive line, which is perhaps the team’s strength, had been at full power for the first time since Week 1. Conklin and left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. have both missed time while Tretter and guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller have played every snap.
Stefanski also said safety John Johnson III is “day to day” with a neck stinger suffered Sunday.
With the Browns (4-4) set to face the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) this Sunday, Stefanski is hoping cornerback Denzel Ward is back after missing one game with a hamstring injury.
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