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Browns QB Deshaun Watson on missing games due to shoulder injury: 'I'm not gonna put the team in jeopardy'

Deshaun Watson's ongoing shoulder mystery received some much-needed clarity on Wednesday when the quarterback spoke for the first time since he missed a Week 4 loss to the Ravens.

The main takeaway, however, won't be too satisfying to Browns fans. Watson's status remains uncertain for the Browns' upcoming trip to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Sunday. As the case has been since Week 4, there's a chance Watson could play this weekend, but it will depend on how he feels.

"I think so, it just depends on the process of the medical stuff and the treatment and rehab that we're doing day to day," said Watson, who sat out practice on Wednesday. "So it's up in the air for sure."

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters on Wednesday that Watson is "making progress" but remains day to day.

Now, for the new information. Watson confirmed his shoulder injury is a rotator cuff issue, a more significant ailment than the simple contusion that most believed was the problem following Cleveland's Week 3 win over the Titans. This helps explain Watson's absence, which has lasted longer than initially expected.

"This is my first time dealing with a rotator cuff, so I'm just trying to get as comfortable as I possibly can to go out there and perform at the level I know I can," Watson told reporters on Wednesday. "If I can't, then we've just got to continue to take it day to day. I'm not gonna put the team in jeopardy if I can't do certain things that [are] gonna allow us to be handicapped in certain situations. So that's the reason why I haven't been able to step on the field."

At minimum, Browns fans are likely happy to hear Watson's explanation, especially after being led to believe the quarterback could not play through a contusion for two games (plus a bye week). Historically, rotator cuff issues can cause lingering problems for quarterbacks. Cam Newton underwent two surgeries on his shoulder (one for a partially torn rotator cuff, and the other being an arthroscopic procedure) in 2017 and early 2019, and both preceded an end to his time in Carolina. Drew Brees also once suffered a significant shoulder injury that included damage to his rotator cuff in 2005, which spelled an end to his time in San Diego. Brees later cited the injury as the reason he couldn't play beyond his age-41 season.

Such an injury isn't the easiest to play through, either, considering how important a throwing shoulder is for a quarterback.

Cleveland has allowed Watson to take a cautious approach with his ailment, turning to rookie backup Dorian Thompson-Robinson in Week 4 and veteran P.J. Walker in a Week 6 win over the then-undefeated 49ers. Stefanski said on Wednesday that Walker will start this Sunday if Watson is unable to play.

The Browns have been able to get by with their stellar defense, scoring the upset over San Francisco last weekend, but with each passing week, their patience will be tested.

We'll see if Watson is able to suit up in Week 7, or if it will be Walker under center, this time against a Colts team that has also been forced to rely on its backup following a season-ending shoulder injury to rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson.

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