BEREA, Ohio — Two weeks ago, the Cleveland Browns' linebacker corps appeared to take a major hit when Mack Wilson suffered a hyperextended knee.
But while his original prognosis created fear the second-year Alabama product would miss a significant portion of the 2020 season, it appears that won't be the case, with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski confirming on Tuesday that Wilson's injury will not require surgery.
“With all of our guys, you hate to see them go out and then you hope that it is always good news," Stefanski said prior to the team's practice on Tuesday. "When they do go out and (Senior Vice President of Player Health and Development) Joe (Sheehan) sidles over to me and whispers in my ear, I always hope it is good news. This is a good development for Mack."
While Wilson is still expected to miss anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks according to various reports, it's an encouraging sign that his return will apparently come in a matter of weeks, not months. Entering the 2020 season, linebacker is considered one of the thinner positions on the Browns' roster following the offseason departures of veterans Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey.
With Wilson still sidelined, the Browns have relied more heavily on the versatility of 2020 third-round pick Jacob Phillips. Although he largely played middle linebacker during his college career at LSU, the 6-foot-3, 229-pound rookie has spent the past few weeks of camp playing outside at the Will linebacker position.
“Every day I just go out there and try to put my best foot forward. It is a blessing to have opportunities to be able to go out there every single day and play," Phillips said on Tuesday. "I try and take advantage of that. There is no added pressure. I put pressure on myself. I am a big competitor. I want to compete and get better every single day. Nothing really affects my mental drive as far as when to get better play in myself.”