Camp Notes: Bob Hallen Hurt

The Cleveland Browns had Bob Hallen around in case something bad happened to one of the team's free agent offensive linemen. Something did. But what happens if Bob Hallen is hurt? The Browns might be about to find out.

The Browns might have lost another center.

Bob Hallen missed the Monday evening practice with a back injury. Coach Romeo Crennel said he hadn't yet consulted doctors to find out how serious it is, but he did say it might be time to consult the emergency list.

"We'll have to do our homework, see what's available and go from there," Crennel said.

A year ago the Browns had an extra center, Melvin Fowler. The Vikings needed a center desperately so the Browns traded Fowler for tackle Nat Dorsey. Dorsey is now the backup tackle.

The Hallen injury is critical because LeCharles Bentley, who would be starting, is out with a torn patellar tendon.

Hallen practiced Monday morning, and after that the injury cropped up.

"(Hallen) practiced this morning and some time this afternoon he had an issue with the back," Crennel said. "We told him to stay inside and see the doctor. We'll see where it leads us.

"If the doctor says he can play (Thursday) he'll play. If the doctor says he can't, then he won't play."

For now the starting center is Alonzo Ephraim. The Browns signed him July 29 because of the injury to Bentley. Rob Smith is competing with Ephraim for the starting job.

Baxter misses practice

Starting right cornerback Gary Baxter hurt his left knee in the morning practice and was held out of the evening practice. He wore a wrap on his knee and rode the exercise bike.

An MRI showed Baxter won't need surgery.

"They did an MRI and didn't find anything major," Crennel said following the evening practice. "Gary told me he'd be okay.

"He tweaked his knee in one of the (morning) drills. The training staff, as a precaution, took him out. He went back and played a couple of plays, but then they pulled him out to take a look at him."

Baxter tried to put on a happy face when he talked to reporters in the morning.

"I'm good. I can't comment," he said. "I'm good. I'm good. I'm good."

Baxter's status for the preseason opener in Philadelphia Thursday is up in the air.


The OBR Top Stories