Suggs' Injury Remains Taboo

The injury to Lee Suggs remains a bit of a mystery, even after the Browns allowed Suggs to talk the press for almost half a minute. The mystery may be solved this weekend, but then again, it may not. Confused? Dave brings us up-to-date with the latest on Suggs' injury situation...

BEREA - Lee Suggs still isn't practicing.

The Cleveland Browns originally downplayed a neck injury suffered by Suggs during practice last Wednesday, calling the second-year running back's injury a "stinger" and referring to him as day-to-day. But after five days off, including Friday night's preseason finale, Suggs still was not cleared by team doctors to resume practicing Monday.

Suggs tried to talk to the media Monday afternoon, but when the subject of his availability for Sunday's season opener with Baltimore was brought up, a team official quickly ushered the second-year running back out of the room, ending an interview that lasted just 28 seconds.

"It feels good," Suggs said.

When he was asked if he thought he'd play Sunday, Suggs shrugged and said "it's not up to me."

Typically, a neck stinger causes numbness and tingling down the shoulder and arm.

Suggs emerged from his battle with William Green for the Browns' starting running back job as the team's leading rusher in the preseason with 118 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. Like Suggs, Green played in three exhibition games, running for 100 yards on 12 carries.

Browns coach Butch Davis said during training camp that he probably wouldn't name a starter until the week of the season opener. When asked if he would continue to keep Suggs and Green in the dark Monday, Davis was typically cryptic.

"I think the lights are on, I don't think anybody's in the dark," said Davis. "I don't think it's necessary."

James Jackson's presence on the roster after Sunday's cut-down day could also lend credence to questioning Suggs' status for Sunday.

Jackson is not happy playing behind Suggs and Green. The fourth-year back openly talked about his desire to be traded last week, saying "it would be unhealthy for them and for me to be here."

Instead of granting Jackson's wish to be traded or holding those comments against him, Davis chose too keep four running backs on the active 53-man roster for the first time in Jackson, Suggs, Green and free agent Dee Brown.

Jackson said he would not be a disruptive force in the Browns locker room. He also said Suggs' injury was a perfect example of why he is needed.

"If I wasn't here, they'd have to bring somebody else in to do that job," said Jackson.

A team official tried to rush Jackson out of the room in the same fashion as Suggs, saying he had to get to a team meeting. But before leaving. Jackson said he wasn't surprised he is still the property of the Cleveland Browns.

"I can still play this game," said Jackson. "I'm a competitor. I'll always be a competitor, so I'm not surprised."

Several teams inquired about Jackson's availability during the off season, but the Browns asking price, originally believed to be a third-round pick, was too high. The Miami Dolphins are rumored to have offered a sixth and seventh-round pick.

Jackson, who played for Davis at the University of Miami, was a third-round pick in 2001, Davis' first draft class as a Browns coach. After an injury-plagued college career, Jackson again had a hard time staying healthy in his first three pro seasons, and that makes asking for a third-round pick a bit steep.

Jackson missed much of the second half of his rookie season with an ankle injury and part of last season with a knee injury.

Suggs, meanwhile, missed most of last season with a lingering right shoulder injury suffered playing in a bowl game while at Virginia Tech. His told reporters that the "stinger" sent shooting pains down his left shoulder and arm.

Suggs said after Friday night's preseason finale that he expected to return to practice Wednesday.

"He is day-to-day right now," Davis said after Suggs was held out of Monday's practice. "All the decisions rest with our doctors."

Remember, it was a stinger that kept former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett out of part of the Buckeyes 2002 national championship season. Browns defensive end Courtney Brown missed a game in 2001 due to a stinger.

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