CLEVELAND (AP)Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s playing status remains unclear after he left Sunday’s game at Indianapolis in the first quarter in his return from a two-game absence with a right shoulder injury.
Coach Kevin Stefanski offered few details Monday on Watson, who strained the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder on Sept. 24 against Tennessee. He sat out the following week against Baltimore and again on Oct. 15 against San Francisco.
Stefanski did not address a specific question about whether Watson underwent more medical tests, saying the team was awaiting results “on a bunch of guys.”
Stefanski was also vague on whether the team would consider putting Watson on injured reserve, giving him four weeks to heal.
“Listen, he’s getting better,” Stefanski said. “He’s a competitive kid. He is working hard.”
Stefanski reiterated Watson’s injury is being treated “day to day,” the team’s standard line after some mixed messages over the past few weeks.
Watson returned to practice last week and started against the Colts after being listed as questionable.
But he was on the field for only 12 plays, leaving after being knocked down while throwing an incompletion and hitting his head on the turf.
Watson passed NFL concussion protocol testing and was cleared to play, but Stefanski chose to keep him on the sideline and go with backup P.J. Walker, who helped lead the Browns to a 39-38 win.
After the game, Stefanski said he made the decision to “protect our franchise quarterback” and said Watson will start this Sunday at Seattle.
During a Zoom call with reporters on Monday, Stefanski reiterated that he felt it was too risky for Watson to go back into the game.
“I thought that was a big hit,” he said. “I saw it up on the big screen when they showed the replay of it. So I just felt like the right thing for the team was to protect him. … I’m always going to be protective of our players, especially at the quarterback position.
“Just felt like the right thing in that moment was to hold him out of that game.”
Watson has made only nine starts for Cleveland in two seasons since signing a $230 million contract with the Browns. He was suspended 11 games last season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
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