Browns Make Surprising QB Decision Amid Watson's Season-Ending Injury

By Jason Hall

November 15, 2023

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
Photo: Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly expected to start rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson over veteran P.J. Walker against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday (November 19) amid Deshaun Watson's season-ending injury, Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot reports.

"Hearing the #Browns will start Dorian Thompson-Robinson vs. #Steelers. I asked him before #Seahawks game how it'd be different: "Night and day. It'll be a clear difference. I finally got my feet wet. I know what to do. I know what to study when I go out there," Cabot wrote on her X account Wednesday (November 15).

Thompson-Robinson had previously started against the Baltimore Ravens on October 1, throwing for 121 yards and three interceptions on 19 of 36 passing during a 28-3 blowout loss amid Watson's initial absence. Walker started the next two games and went 1-1, throwing for 618 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions in five total appearances.

The Browns announced Watson would undergo season-ending surgery on a displaced fracture to the glenoid of his right shoulder, the team announced in a statement shared on its official website and social media accounts Wednesday (November 15) morning.

Watson was limited to just six starts in the Browns first nine games, returning from the shoulder injury on November 5, but twice rolling his ankle and feeling discomfort from the apparent lingering shoulder injury during Sunday's (November 12) win against the Baltimore Ravens.

"Deshaun Watson underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Monday on two injuries sustained on different plays in the first half of Sunday's 33-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Imaging on his left ankle revealed a high-ankle sprain. In addition, postgame, Deshaun notified our medical staff of a new discomfort in his right shoulder that he felt after a hit in the first half. An MRI of his right shoulder revealed a displaced fracture to the glenoid.

"Despite performing at a high level and finishing the game, after consultation with Browns' Head Physician, James Voos, MD, and industry-leading shoulder specialist, Neal ElAttrache, MD, it has been determined that this injury will require immediate surgical repair to avoid further structural damage. Deshaun will be placed on season-ending injured reserve and a full recovery is expected for the start of the 2024 season."

Watson, who was acquired by the Browns as part of a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Texans in 2022, was 5-1 as a starter and threw for 1,115 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions on 105 of 171 passing, while also recording 142 yards and one touchdowns on 26 rushing attempts.

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