Hurting at Tight End

Injuries have slammed the Browns again. What next?

The Browns are hurting at tight end, literally, and with training camp a little more than a month away no quick remedies are available.

In addition to Kellen Winslow being out for the year with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, fellow tight end Keith Heinrich will miss all of 2005 recovering from the same injury.

Browns orthopedic surgeon Dr. Anthony Miniaci operated on both players the morning of June 14 while their teammates were going through the second of a three-day minicamp. The surgeries were deemed successful and both players were sent home the same day. Rehab for both is to begin around June 24.

Winslow was injured May 1 when he crashed his motorcycle performing stunts in a vacant parking lot. Heinrich was injured June 1 in passing camp. The Browns never mentioned Heinrich's injury until June 13 when Coach Romeo Crennel was asked about Winslow.

Numerologists will find it interesting that exactly one year before his most recent injury, Heinrich broke his right fibula during what former coach Butch Davis called quarterback school, which was the same thing Crennel's passing camp. Heinrich started the 2004 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He was activated Nov. 16, before the 10th game.

"Keith was working his tail off," tight end Steve Heiden said. "He was here at 6:30 every morning, lifting hard. He was having a good camp."

Heiden said Heinrich was injured blocking a safety on a routine draw play. Heinrich was a good bet to be the third tight end after Heiden and Aaron Shea.

Being down two tight ends before July 1 is a bad sign. After Heiden and Shea the tight ends are Keith Willis and Paul Irons.

The Browns considered bringing back Chad Mustard, who was with the team last year. He was part of the rookie mini-camp a week after the draft, even though he had prior experience, and he was brought in for a workout after Heinrich was injured, but coaches didn't see enough to re-sign him.
 


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