For the first time in weeks, the Browns should have two healthy, experienced running backs, but that won't change the fact Reuben Droughns will likely get 80 percent or more of the carries Sunday when the Browns play the Vikings in Minneapolis.
Droughns, on his way to becoming the first Browns back in 20 years to rush for 1,000 yards, has been virtually on his own while William Green limps on a sprained right ankle and Lee Suggs recovers from a fractured right thumb. Green was inactive last week against the Dolphins, the third straight week he was in street clothes. Suggs has not played for six weeks, but he should be cleared to play against the Vikings.
Suggs's frustration has reached a breaking point. He has not had a carry this season after finishing last year with three straight 100-yard games. He missed the first two games this year with a sprained ankle, caught two passes in Indianapolis, and then suffered the thumb injury the next week against the Bears making a tackle in kick coverage.
"I can't help get frustrated sometimes, but I'll be fine," he said. "Now that I'm getting closer, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel."
With six games still to play, there is concern how Droughns will hold up. He rushed for 1,240 yards last season with the Broncos, but his production dropped off in December. Part of the reason is Broncos coach Mike Shanahan wanted to use Tatum Bell, but another factor is Droughns did not prepare for 2004 expecting to be the Broncos' feature back. A series of injuries put him in that situation.
"I weighed 235 pounds when I got to training camp last year because I thought I was going to be a blocking fullback," he said. "I'm in a lot better shape now. I came into camp this summer weighing 215. I'm sore when I get out of bed on Mondays, but by Wednesday practice I'm ready to go, and on Sundays I feel great."
Droughns carried the ball 30 times for 166 yards against the Dolphins. Both were season highs. His backup while Suggs and Green mend, Jason Wright, had only three carries.