The artificial turf at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey has claimed another victim. On Sunday, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Chris Hubbard suffered a ‘serious’ season-ending knee injury while playing right guard for the Cleveland Browns.
On the second play of his team’s game against the New York Giants, Hubbard was pass-blocking for quarterback Baker Mayfield when his right knee gave out.
On Monday, the Browns placed Hubbard on injured reserve, with head coach Kevin Stefanski saying it’s an injury that will cause the seventh-year lineman to miss “significant time.”
“Hub has given us great reps—not good reps, great reps—as a versatile player,” added Stefanski. “He is an outstanding teammate. We will miss him in the time that he misses.”
Ian Rapoport, National Insider for NFL Network and NFL.com, went on to report that Hubbard tore ligaments in his knee and suffered a dislocated kneecap, all of which will require surgery to repair.
After the game on Sunday night, Hubbard tweeted out a message, thanking his followers for their prayers.
Hubbard, 29, has spent the past three seasons with the Cleveland Browns, appearing in 41 games (34 starts) over that span, mostly at right tackle. This year he started five of the 11 games in which he appeared, including the Week 6 game against Pittsburgh at Heinz Field, which the Steelers won, 38-7.
Chris Hubbard’s Career With the Steelers
Hubbard began his NFL career with the Steelers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham in April 2013.
During his five years in Pittsburgh he worked his way up from the practice squad to the starting right tackle job. After the 2017 season, he left the Steelers in free agency, signing a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Browns. But after one season as a starter, he moved into a backup role (having agreed to reduce his salary to stay in Cleveland).
Now his injury has competitive implications for the AFC North race, as it leaves the Browns extra-thin at right guard. (Hubbard was playing in place of Wyatt Teller, who has started only 10 games this season while battling injuries.) Rookie fifth-round pick Nick Harris will likely start Cleveland’s next game at right guard if Teller is unable to play.
MetLife Stadium’s Artificial Turf
It’s also worth noting that Hubbard suffered his injury on the same field where Steelers right tackle Zach Banner incurred his season-ending ACL tear during Pittsburgh’s Week 1 game.
In fact, the FieldTurf at MetLife Stadium has been blamed for many injuries this year, including the season-ending ACL tears suffered by San Francisco 49ers defenders Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas in Week 2.
Worse yet for the Browns is that they are not quite done with the MetLife Stadium turf this season, as they are scheduled to return to New Jersey again this Sunday to take on the New York Jets (1-13).
Cleveland wraps up its regular season at home against the Steelers on January 3, 2021, a matchup that could decide the division title.
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