The initial hit by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to Chubb’s left knee was so gruesome that the Monday Night Football broadcast chose not to air a replay of it to the national audience. In the days that followed, discussion of the possibility of multiple surgeries and a potentially career-threatening injury was rampant throughout the sports world. Then, on Saturday, all that changed.
“The knee injury suffered by … Nick Chubb is not considering career-ending, with initial tests revealing the running back tore only his left MCL, according to sources,” Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on September 23. “Sources said that while Chubb’s ACL was stretched on the play, doctors do not believe that ligament is torn. Surgery is likely to happen this week, and sources said the hope is that more damage is not found. Chubb’s recovery timeline is expected to be six to eight months.”
Sunday’s Game Vs. Titans Will Let Browns Know What They Have at RB
Replacing Chubb for the remainder of this season will be two of his former backups — Jerome Ford, who served in that role for two weeks in 2023, and Kareem Hunt, who backed up the Pro Bowler for four years between 2019-22.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed that Ford will be the lead back when the Browns host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Hunt didn’t rejoin the fold until earlier this week. However, he has spent the majority of his career in Cleveland and the last three years playing under Stefanski’s system. Thus, if Hunt is in shape, he should be ready to assume a significant role as early as this weekend.
Hunt was slotted ahead of Ford on the depth chart during Ford’s rookie season in 2022. He served primarily as the team’s lead kick returner last year, but played well in Chubb’s absence last Monday. Ford finished the game with 106 yards rushing and three receptions for 25 yards.
Browns Could Still Add High-End Colts RB Jonathan Taylor
The Browns have spent a ton of money over the last couple years in an attempt to win now, an effort that suffered a major blow on the same play Chubb did. Because of that, Cleveland can’t be ruled out as a potential trade partner for Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor will remain on IR for at least the next two games with an ankle injury. The Colts fielded trade offers for the 2021 NFL rushing champion ahead of the season but never closed any deal.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano authored a trade pitch on Thursday that would see the Browns swap their 2024 second-round pick to acquire Taylor’s services for the final 13 games of this season.
[The Browns’] identity is so tied to their run game, their quarterback looks so bad and there are aren’t many backs with the character and skill set to replace everything Chubb gives them.
The Colts get back a pick in the same round where they took Taylor in 2020, and they’re rid of an ugly situation. … Chubb’s future is somewhat up in the air at the moment, though, and the Browns have the cap space to dump a whole bunch of money into this year if they need to do so to get a deal done for Taylor.