BEREA - Tim Couch continues to say he'll be ready for the season opener against Kansas City, but 11 days before that game the Browns quarterback watched practice with a sore right forearm.
A MRI performed on Couch's arm Tuesday was negative, but he still hadn't gripped a ball as of Wednesday afternoon. Coach Butch Davis said it's possible, but unlikely, that Couch will play Friday against Carolina.
"In NFL vernacular, it's unlikely that he'll play, but it's not impossible that he'll play," Davis said.
Couch isn't certain what the near future holds in store for him. He'd obviously like to play Friday, but he knows that probably won't happen. He did say that he thinks he would play if the regular season opened next Sunday.
"As a competitor I want to play, but I don't know if that's going to be the best thing for me to do," Couch said. "I'm going to let coach (Butch Davis) decide what he wants me to do. If he thinks I need to play and get another game under my belt before the season starts, I'll be ready to go."
Couch has a history of tendonitis in his throwing elbow. He occasionally skips a practice during training camp, and he always puts ice on the elbow to reduce swelling and pain.
From what he's been told, Couch doesn't think the current injury is related to his tendonitis problems. He doesn't plan to seek a second opinion at this time.
"It feels a lot better than it did Monday night after the game," he said. "It's settled down quite a bit. All the treatments I've had on it and the rest I've had for a day or so has really helped it a lot."
READY TO GO: Backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb thinks he's earned the respect of his teammates. If Couch misses time, Holcomb is confident of getting the job done.
"No one wants anything to happen to Tim," Holcomb. "It's a harsh business, but you expect to go in and pick up where he left off. I want to play, but I know that it's Tim Couch's team. If he's able to walk, he'll play."
CAN IT BE?: Defensive end Kenard Lang thinks he can play against Carolina. He didn't practice Wednesday because of a high ankle sprain, and it's highly unlikely he'll suit up Friday.
"I'm not a natural person. I'm different. I'm very abnormal," Lang said. "When we played against Marshall Faulk two years ago, he had his knee scoped early the week before. He came back and played that Monday night game.
WALKING WOUNDED: The injury news was good for offensive tackle Ryan Tucker, who was kicked last Monday. The initial prognosis was a sprained ankle, but it turned out to be simply a bruised calf. He was on the practice field Wednesday.
H-back Aaron Shea wore a sling to support his bruised right shoulder and was held out of practice. Shea missed time late last season with a sore left shoulder.
"It's not as severe as last year's (injury), in my opinion," Shea said. "It's a day-to-day thing. It's feeling better already today."
Defensive lineman Felipe Claybrooks and safety Earl Little also sat out Wednesday's practice because of injuries.
MAKING MOVES: The Browns have signed college football's career leading rusher, R.J. Bowers. The 6-foot-0, 245-pounder played at Grove City College, finishing with 7,353 rushing yards, 562 points, 92 touchdowns and 91 rushing TDs. He holds eight NCAA records for all divisions and 11 Division III records.
Chris Floyd was waived to make room for Bowers on the roster. The decision to waive Floyd gives the edge at fullback to Kevin McLeod. McLeod and Floyd were signed shortly after J.J. Johnson suffered a season-ending neck injury.