The Cleveland Browns could be down a fan favorite this weekend after a nagging injury concern has left his playing status in doubt.
Wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones’ status for a critical game Sunday against the Detroit Lions remains in question following a groin injury he re-aggravated in practice on Wednesday, November 17. The wideout sat out Thursday to nurse the sore muscle but was back on the field Friday in a limited capacity.
However, his return to practice does not necessarily mean he’ll be game-ready by the weekend, as the Browns noted themselves via the team’s official Twitter account.
“WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, DE Takkarist McKinley are considered questionable vs. Detroit,” the tweet said.
Injuries Mounting for Browns Team in Need of a Win
Based on reporting from media members who actually witness the injury occur, Peoples-Jones came up limp after running a route early on during Wednesday’s practice.
Should the wide receiver be forced to the sideline Sunday, the Browns will be down yet another considerable offensive weapon. After parting ways with embattled and controversial wideout Odell Beckham Jr. two weeks ago, the team announced this week that running back Kareem Hunt would remain on the injured reserve list (IR) following a calf injury he suffered in mid-October. It will be the fourth consecutive game the Browns’ backfield must make due without the talented rusher.
Peoples-Jones will likely see increased action against a subpar Lions defense should he ultimately suit up on Sunday. The second-year wideout has already surpassed his traditional counting statistics from his rookie season despite missing two games, catching 16 passes for 330 yards and 3 TDs, per Pro Football Reference.
In 2020, People-Jones nabbed 14 balls for 303 yards and 2 TDs across 12 game appearances.
However, serious questions remain about the health of the quarterback who will be throwing him the ball, assuming Peoples-Jones actually makes it out onto the field.
Baker Mayfield has announced that he will start against Detroit but, by his own admission, he will do so in the worst physical condition of his NFL career. Jake Trotter, Browns reporter for ESPN, posted Twitter video Wednesday of the quarterback’s comments regarding his health.
“‘This is probably the most beat up I’ve ever been in my career,’ (as an ambulance whizzes by)…” Trotter wrote. “Baker is battling knee and foot injuries on top of the torn labrum. Says he’s still planning to play Sunday vs. Detroit.”
Detroit Has Become Must-Win Game for Browns
The Browns are 5-5 in a crowded battle with seven other AFC squads for three Wildcard berths. The game against the Lions is at home and by far the easiest left on the team’s schedule. Injured or not, Cleveland needs to win to keep its reasonable playoff chances alive.
That’s mostly true because of how challenging the rest of the Browns’ schedule is on paper. After Detroit, Cleveland will play back-to-back games against the division rival Baltimore Ravens, with the reprieve of a much-needed bye week arriving in between those contests.
It’s do or die time for the Browns from here on out, and they’ll be able to do a heck of a lot more with Peoples-Jones lining up on the outside.