Wednesday Update: Flu Bug Hits Berea

It doesn't matter how big you are, those little bugs can knock you down. Ross Verba is a flu bug victim as a nasty little virus hits the Berea camp. Mike McLain brings us the very latest from Berea.

BEREA - The cold-and-flu season has hit the Browns' training site.

Offensive tackle Ross Verba was excused from practice Wednesday because of the flu. Verba attended team meetings but was told to return home when the symptoms worsened.

Coach Butch Davis said that a few other players weren't feeling well, but only Verba was excused from practice. Rookie Joaquin Gonzalez took Verba's spot.

To prevent against a widespread flu outbreak, all players except four were given flu shots. Verba was one of the four who declined the medication.

"It's not a mandatory thing. I don't know if that's the reason why," Davis said. "He has children at home and kids that go to day care. There are a million ways you can get the flu. Maybe it's a 24-hour bug. Maybe it's not even the flu. I expect him to be back tomorrow (Thursday).

The plan was to practice outdoors Wednesday. One of the fields had been cleared of snow, but rain mixed with snow hit the practice facility shortly before noon and forced the team indoors.

Kicker Phil Dawson and punter Chris Gardocki managed some outdoor work. Both players had rough days last Sunday in Jacksonville. Dawson missed field goal attempts of 42 and 36 yards, and Gardocki had punts of 28 and 23 yards in the fourth quarter, giving the Jaguars excellent field position.

"They are outstanding about never making excuses about anything," Davis said. "I talked to both of them about having kicked indoors all last week and not kicking outdoors one time. The roof isn't tall enough, and the ball hits the ceiling when Chris punts. You never get a feeling for how the ball is going to go. It's the same way with Phil and kicking.

"Maybe it's like a golfer. If you've been in a golf dome and hit it into a net, you can tell yourself that it was 300 yards right down the middle. It might have been a snap hook left into the lake. You'll never know because it only went 12 feet into the net."

PROUD COACH: Davis is pleased with the way the Hurricanes have played in the two seasons since he left the coaching post to take over in Cleveland.

"I'd be kidding you if I said I wasn't happy for those kids," Davis said. "When you've spent time in their living rooms and with the parents, you can't help but have a lot of satisfaction and pride."

INJURY REPORT: Browns defensive end Courtney Brown (knee) and receiver Dennis Northcutt (knee) are doubtful. Safety Devin Bush (hamstring) and cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (thumb) are questionable. McCutcheon, who missed the last two games with a broken bone, had a large protective device on his right hand during practice Wednesday.

Doubtful for the Colts are safety Idress Bashir (hamstring) and fullback Detron Smith (hamstring). Questionable are defensive back Jason Doering (neck), defensive end Brad Scioli (shoulder) and linebacker Donnel Thompson (back). Listed as probable are defensive tackle James Cannida (knee); defensive back Walt Harris (ankle and wrist); receiver Quadry Ismail (thigh); running back Edgerrin James (ankle); quarterback Peyton Manning (knee); defensive tackle David Pugh (groin); center Jeff Saturday (ankle); linebacker David Thornton (knee) and receiver Reggie Wayne (chest).

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