CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns will take on a dynamic quarterback, Arizona Cardinals star Kyler Murray, without one of their key pass rushers and a veteran safety in the lineup due to lingering knee injuries.
The Browns announced Friday before their flight to Phoenix for Sunday’s game that defensive end Olivier Vernon and safety Eric Murray were officially ruled out because of knee injuries, while center JC Tretter and right tackle Chris Hubbard are questionable due to knee issues.
Traded to the Browns from the New York Giants in exchange for veteran right guard Kevin Zeitler during the offseason, Vernon will miss his fifth game in the last six weeks after suffering the injury in a 24-19 loss at the Denver Broncos on November 2, while Murray will miss his seventh straight game after undergoing knee surgery following a Week 8 loss at the New England Patriots.
“He has made progress and we evaluate those things towards the end of the week,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said of Murray after Thursday’s practice.
“There are only so many reps you can get to test things like that during the course of the week. We will see. He has made progress, though. He has made more progress this week than he made last week, so we will see at the end of the week.”
Over seven games, including three starts, in his first season with the Browns, Murray has registered 23 total tackles, including 15 solo stops and eight assists, with one pass defended. Vernon has made 24 total tackles, including 20 solo stops, with three sacks in nine games with the Browns.
Tretter battled through his injury to be ready for last Sunday’s 27-19 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, and admittedly, came through the game “a little sore,” so much so that he missed Thursday’s practice in Berea.
“Usually, I am pretty confident that if I can get out there to start, I can make it through the game, so really, just getting through the week and making sure I get to where I need to be to play,” Tretter said earlier this week.
“Then, once I get going, the adrenaline gets going, I am usually pretty confident I can make it through the rest of the time.”