BEREA, Ohio—When safety T.J. Ward said he heard a ‘pop' in his foot during last week's game against the Texans, the fear it was serious.
Although, Pat Shurmur would give no more details other than Ward was ‘in a cast', it doesn't sound good for his availability at least this Sunday.
Ward posted ‘not what I wanted to hear" on his Twitter account on Monday, the day he was to have an MRI, although he didn't specify if he was referring to news regarding his injury.
To make matters worse, Usama Young also missed practice with a hip injury he suffered against the Texans leaving Mike Adams and rookie Eric Hagg as the only healthy safeties practicing. Hagg has not made a tackle this season.
Ray Ventrone is another safety, but he is primarily a special teams player and he has missed the past couple games with a hamstring injury. Young was on the sideline during the portion of practice open to the media and Ward wasn't seen.
Shurmur said the cast is on Ward to ‘let it settle down', but gave no timetable on how long it will be on.
If neither Ward nor Young can play, the Browns might have to move a cornerback to safety this week for reinforcements. Rookie James Dockery could be a candidate. Third cornerback Dimitri Patterson also missed practice with a knee injury. Dockery has not made a tackle this season.
"We have our backups and we'll have to cover those spots with some of the corner guys," Shurmur said.
Ward is third on the team in tackles with 38, including a sack, three passes broken up and a forced fumble. Young has 23 tackles with an interception and a pass broken up.
Massaquoi Sent Home: WR Mohamed Massaquoi (concussion) was sent home Wednesday with symptoms from a concussion.
(Massaquoi) went home," Shurmur said. "He's got symptoms (of a concussion). He didn't have any specific episode. He had symptoms related to a concussion, so we sent him home."
Massaquoi missed time last week, but was cleared to practice and played against the Texans. He felt ‘woozy' and came out of the game.
Moving forward, Massaquoi's status is unknown as he suffered a concussion last season against the Steelers.
Hillis, Hardesty Out: The Browns projected top three running backs entering the season will not be available this Sunday and RB Chris Ogbonnaya and RB Thomas Clayton will be carrying the load. RB Brandon Jackson was lost for the season to injured reserve during training camp and RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and RB Montario Hardesty (calf) have been ruled out by Shurmur.
Shurmur said that he expects Clayton to play more.
"I think they'll both play," he said. "He'll probably play more than last week. I think the running game is a team thing kind of like run defense."
Reunion: Shurmur was the offensive coordinator for the Rams before he became head coach of the Browns. However, he says this week is business as usual.
"I don't know how much it has to do with the game (this week), but I have a lot of people I have relationships because I worked there," he said.
Shurmur said the (3-5) Browns cannot take the (1-7) Rams lightly.
"We can't look at their record."
How's the Gig?: Shurmur has coaches eight NFL games as head coach. Despite being 3-5, Shurmur said he's enjoying being the coach of the Browns.
"I am really enjoying it," he said. "I might not be showing it. I enjoy the process and I'm a very impatient guy and I don't like the results so far."
Shurmur said he remembers being the quarterback coach with the Eagles when Donovan McNabb was a rookie.
"It's difficult, but you come to work every day and try to get better at something," he said. "We all take notes and I looked at our first year in Philadelphia and didn't have a very good year our first year trying to develop Donovan McNabb.
"We didn't have a very good year our first year in St. Louis, either," he said. "The results in this process is winning.
"I try to sit back and look at the big picture but as a coach and educator, sometimes it's hard," he said."The timetable for winning is I'd like for it to be Sunday. Once you win one, then you try for consistency. Each week, there's a different set of circumstances."
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo empathized with Shurmur and the Browns' growing pains. Even though Spagnuolo is in his third season with the Rams, he said they are still in the development process.
"We went through (growing pains)together (with the Eagles and Rams)," he said. "(Shurmur's) a quality guy and a tremendous teacher.
"When you're building and all the movable parts and with not having all that time with the team (during the lockout), there's still a lot of development going on. I think both teams are going through the same thing."
Spagnuolo said in the present age of the NFL it is difficult to develop players, while also winning.
"Teaching, development and winning go hand in hand and it's a process."
Norwood posted on his Twitter account.
"My heart goes out to those young boys, young men and their families affected by the actions of one and the lack of action by many."
Shurmur didn't want to get into specifics about the announcement that Joe Paterno will retire coming in the midst of the scandal rocking the Nittany Lions.
"He's done so many great things and to be at one place for so long," Shurmur said. "He's one of the greatest college coaches of all time."