Browns Release Key Injury News Regarding Starting Lineman

Getty Images Jack Conklin of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns will be close to full strength when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a Divisional Round playoff game on Sunday.

Two of the more questionable names this week for the Browns were All-Pro offensive tackle Jack Conklin and tight end David Njoku. Conklin has been dealing with a hamstring injury he suffered against the Steelers last week. Njoku was also dealing with a hamstring issue.

Both are expected to suit up on Sunday against the Chiefs, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski did not make any promises during the week, waiting to see how things would develop.

“Obviously, you want to go into the game with the full complement of your players. We will see how it shakes out.”

The question was posed if Conklin would be better off with the injury because of his position needing choppy steps rather than large strides.

“With any injury, they are all different. Certainly, when you talk about positionally, some players take full strides to your point, but I think you deal with each injury individually,” Stefanski said. “We will see how he responds over the next 48 hours.”

Njoku has caught 19 balls for 213 yards this season with a pair of touchdowns. His role is larger than those numbers might indicate, however. Njoku played a season-high 79-percent of the snaps last week against the Steelers.

Browns Also Get Joel Bitonio Back at Guard

The Browns offensive line will also have guard Joel Bitonio back this week — a pillar of the organization that was forced to miss his first playoff game last week due to COVID-19 protocols.

“I think it is a big deal,” Stefanski said. “Getting a good player back. He is excited to be back as you can imagine. Looks good.”

Bitonio watched nervously last week when he was sidelined, but now will get a chance to make his postseason debut.

“It is great. It is huge the team won that game when we moved on to the Divisional Round. Obviously, I am excited. I am ready to be out there, I am ready to play and do my best, but it was always about the team and how they were going to respond,” Bitonio told reporters this week. “We have been in those situations all year. It was just really cool to see those guys step up and make plays. Obviously, I am pumped to keep playing and ready to get after it this weekend.”

Chiefs Will be Without RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Chiefs vs Chargers watch

GettyQB Patrick Mahomes hands off to Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

The Browns are 9.5-point underdogs against the Chiefs — the top seed in the AFC North led by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. However, Kansas City will be missing a key piece of their offense in rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has been a big contributor this season.

Edwards-Helaire had 803 yards and 4 touchdowns this season, also notching 36 catches out of the backfield for 297 yards. In his absence former All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell will take on the majority of work. Bell has not had a 100-yard rushing game this season, his best performance being a 15 carry, 62-yard performance against the Saints in Week 16.

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