Richmond Times-Dispatch

Browns lose key backups to injuries

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CLEVELAND— As the Cleveland Browns wait for Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and top cornerback DenzelWard to return from COVID-19 and join their playoff run, the team lost their replacemen­ts to injuries.

Cleveland placed guard Michael Dunn and cornerback Robert Jackson on injured reserve Tuesday, losing two players who started Sunday’s playoff win at Pittsburgh while Bitonio and Ward remain sidelined with the virus.

Dunn injured his calf during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 48-37 firstround win while Jackson suffered a hamstring injury. Both are done for the season and won’t play in this week’s game against defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City.

It’s not yet known if or when Bitonio or Ward will be back. Bitonio tested positive last week. Both were back in Cleveland when the Browns stunned the Steelers for their first postseason win in 26 years.

Ward tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 31 and was eligible to return last week, but wasn’t ready. Compoundin­g his absence is that cornerback Kevin Johnson, who has made six starts this season, is also out with COVID-19.

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