CLEVELAND (AP) — Myles Garrett’s NFL debut for the Browns won’t happen for weeks.
Is that Cleveland’s luck or what?
The top overall pick in this year’s draft will miss Sunday’s opener against Pittsburgh and possibly a few more games after severely spraining his right ankle during practice.
A teammate fell on the back of Garrett’s leg during a drill Wednesday, and the impressive rookie defensive end stayed on the field as long as he could before succumbing to pain.
An MRI revealed the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Garrett has a high ankle sprain, a tricky injury that typically takes several weeks to heal. His status will be updated in a “couple” of weeks,” the team said. That means he will sit out against the Steelers and likely the following week at Baltimore, and perhaps other games.
Garrett is not expected to need surgery.
Garrett’s loss is another blow for the beleaguered Browns, who went 1-15 last season and have had their share of costly injuries in recent years.
Quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown were hurt early last season. Wide receiver Corey Coleman, a first-round pick, missed six games after breaking his hand in practice, and Cleveland lost both starting guards with torn foot ligaments.
“Obviously, it hurts when you lose a premier pass rusher like Myles,” said Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas. “It hurts losing a guy that is that much of a game changer.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson said the injury to one of his top players just days from the opener hasn’t changed his resolve.
“Have you guys ever seen me run from anything?” he said. “I am not about to now. If anything, our team is a little bit tighter, a little bit stronger because of the things that have happened.
“We grow from this. It is happening now and glad it is happening early in the year so we can move on from it and grow from it and become stronger as a football team. We never want to see things happen, but we all know they do during a long season, so here we go. This is just the start of it. Let’s put it behind us and keep marching.”
This is the second time Garrett already has been hurt as a pro, and those setbacks came after he was limited during his junior year at Texas A&M by a badly sprained left ankle.
Garrett sustained a lateral sprain to his left foot during minicamp while pressuring former Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler. The injury was initially thought to be serious, but Garrett’s foot was immobilized in a walking boot and he recovered in time for the start of training camp.
The Browns eased him into practices, but it wasn’t long before Garrett was dazzling Cleveland’s coaches and teammates with his speed and strength. Garrett also impressed with his humility and work ethic, staying after practice to run wind sprints to build stamina.
Jackson said he’s not concerned about Garrett’s recent spate of injuries. The one that occurred Wednesday was unavoidable.
“I know exactly how it happened,” Jackson said. “If you get somebody thrown into your leg, it could happen to any one of our guys, anybody on our football team. It is just unfortunate it happened to a guy who we wish was out there all of the time. That goes with it.”
With Garrett out, the Browns re-signed second-year lineman Tyrone Holmes, who was waived by the team on Sunday. He played in 11 games for Cleveland last season and showed promise during this summer’s exhibition games.
Holmes knows he alone can’t replace Garrett.
“It’s huge,” he said of losing Garrett. “Everybody knows how talented of a player he is. He is a freak. It is a huge loss for the team, but we are going to have to go in and step up and try to fill the role.”
Garrett had been pointing to the opener and promised to sack Ben Roethlisberger. Before Wednesday’s practice, Garrett said taking down the Steelers quarterback would be nice, but his main objective was to wreak havoc wherever he could.
“It’s to make a difference,” he said. “Making a difference whether it’s a sack, TFL (tackle for loss) or just being disruptive, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take the opportunities that are given to me.”
For now, those chances are on hold.
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