Kareem Hunt was carted to the locker room in the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Browns loss against the Arizona Cardinals, dealing another significant blow to the team’s offense.
Hunt was the lead back with Nick Chubb already sidelined with a calf injury but did not return after being helped off the field, unable to put weight on his right leg. Shortly after getting to the sideline, Hunt was carted to the locker room. The team announced officially he would not be returning with a calf injury.
Hunt notched 14 carries for 66 yards at the time of the injury, adding three catches for 12 yards out of the backfield. With the Browns two-headed backfield monster suddenly headless, the team will rely on D’Ernest Johnson and rookie Demetric Felton to carry the load.
Injuries Piling Up For Browns
It was part of a miserable afternoon for the Browns, who saw Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham also go down with injuries. However, those two returned to the game. The team was already without both of their starting tackles Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin.
Hunt and Chubb were both eyeing the 1,000-yard mark this season, looking to become the first Browns duo to do so since 1985. That goal now seems like an afterthought with both out with injuries.
With Chubb missing some time with a knee injury last season, Hunt rushed for 841 yards on 198 carries last season — a 4.2 yards per carry average. He also caught 38 balls for 304 yards and notched 11 total touchdowns. Before joining the Browns, Hunt led the league in rushing as a rookie, notching 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns with the Chiefs in 2017.
Hunt was excited for a chance to carry the load without Chubb out, although he missed his backfield buddy.
“Never want to see a guy like Nick go down,” Hunt said leading up to the Cardinals matchup. “Definitely what he means to this team is crazy. We have a lot of good backs in this RB room. I feel like we should be able to hold it down until he gets back.”
He also expressed faith in Felton and Johnson, who will now be tasked with carrying the ground game if Chubb and Hunt are out an extended period of time.
“That is what those guys are here for,” Hunt said. “I am excited to see those guys play. I know D’Ernest and Felton are playmakers for sure. Our running back room, we try not to have any drop off.”
Nick Chubb Not Expected to Go on Injured Reserve
Chubb entered Sunday second in the league with 523 rushing yards and has been a steadying force for the Browns’ offense.
Chubb is dealing with a calf injury but there’s a chance he could turn around and play on the short-week after missing Sunday. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network first reported that the fourth-year running back will avoid injured reserve.
The Browns face the Broncos on Thursday Night Football. The Broncos have lost three in a row but the short week comes at the worst possible time with all of the injuries for the Browns.