A Friday morning MRI at the Cleveland Clinic revealed that Ross Verba has suffered a ruptured right biceps tendon and he will be lost for the season, the Cleveland Browns announced today. Surgery will be performed at a later date and rehabilitation for the injury is expected to last 5-6 months. A full and complete recovery is expected.
"I feel terrible for Ross," Head Coach Butch Davis said. "He had a tremendous preseason and performed great at the left tackle position each of the last two seasons. Injuries, however, are part of the game and annually affect many teams. We will decide internally how to fill this void, and we fully expect someone to meet the challenge that waits."
Verba has started 31 of the Browns last 32 games (15 in 2001, 16 in 2002) at left tackle along with last season's wild card playoff game at Pittsburgh. He was signed as an unrestricted free agent on March 23, 2001.
The loss of Verba, who guards starting quarterback Kelly Holcomb's blindside will be a challenge for the team to overcome. Chad Beasley is currently listed as Verba's back-up, but it is possible that the team may choose to move Barry Stokes over to fill the position and then slide Melvin Fowler back in as starting LG. This is the approach the team used last night when Verba left the game. Beasley was scratched from last night's game with an injury as well.