Injury Scare: Shoulder fracture ends QB’s season

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is tackled by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Travis Jones during the first half on an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

After finally playing like an elite quarterback, Watson was told Tuesday night by doctors that a hard hit that he shook off on Sunday ended his second season in Cleveland just as it was taking off.

As he wrestled with his emotions on Wednesday, Watson fought to find the words to convey his feelings.

“It’s very tough,” Watson said following a 10-second pause to gather himself. “Hurt about it.”

Watson will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a displaced fracture in his right shoulder, an injury that is not only a personal setback to the 28-year-old but a potentially devastating blow to the Browns, who have managed to stay in contention and now face more uncertainty.

Once again, they don’t have a franchise quarterback.

Watson, who came to Cleveland in a controversial trade from Houston last year and received a fully guaranteed $230 million contract, got hurt at some point in the first half of the Browns’ 33-31 win at Baltimore. He’s not sure when it happened and the team can’t pinpoint the contact.

But although Watson knew something was wrong, he stayed on the field while also dealing with a sprained ankle and completed 14 of 14 passes in the second half as Cleveland rallied for one its biggest wins in recent memory.

Less than 48 hours later, any afterglow from the win was darkened as doctors told Watson his glenoid was fractured and his season is over after six games. He threw for 1,115 yards with seven touchdown passes and four interceptions.

“I’m still in disbelief,” he said. “Just trying to process all the information. I felt like we were turning a corner to really make a run and still believe we still will with the guys in this locker room. I just wanted to physically be a part of it.

“It’s tough to try to wrap everything around my head right now.”

Browns General Manager Andrew Berry said the fracture is not related to the strained rotator cuff that Watson sustained earlier this season and kept him off the field for almost four full games.

Led by one of the league’s best defenses, the Browns (6-3) are off to one of their best starts in two decades and are chasing a playoff spot. While they’ve been dealing with adversity since Week 1, not having Watson is by far their biggest obstacle.

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