CLEVELAND (AP) — Nick Chubb's gruesome left knee injury will require surgery, a devastating blow for the Cleveland Browns star running back who will have to go through another arduous rehabilitation to continue playing.
Chubb sustained the season-ending injury in Monday night's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A four-time Pro Bowler in six seasons, Chubb got hurt when Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick tackled him low on a carry in the second quarter. The impact buckled the same knee Chubb injured in 2015 at Georgia and had reconstructed.
Coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed that Chubb's season is over. He did not provide any specifics on the severity of the injury or when Chubb will have the operation.
It's possible Chubb, who likely torn several ligaments, will seek several medical opinions before moving forward.
“Very disappointed for Nick,” Stefanski said on a Zoom call. “He means a lot to this team, means a lot to this organization so he will be missed. But he will bounce back. I have no doubt.”
As Cleveland tries to regroup after losing Chubb, the team brought in former Brown Kareem Hunt for a visit and workout Tuesday.
Hunt spent four seasons with Cleveland before leaving as a free agent in March, ending a strained final year with the Browns. The 28-year-old, who led the NFL in rushing with Kansas City in 2017, was unhappy with his contract and asked for a trade in 2022.
He played in all 17 games, but wasn't the same dynamic player. He finished with 468 yards rushing and 210 receiving.
Hunt knows the Browns' system, so he could quickly get up to speed if signed. The Browns host Tennessee on Sunday.
“You don’t replace Nick Chubb,” Stefanski said. “Great players in the league, you look around, they go out. It’s always not one person that replaces a player of his caliber, so everybody’s got to do a little bit more, got to do a little bit more everywhere.
“We will look at options there in terms of who we bring in."
As for Chubb, his loss leaves the Browns (1-1) without one of their best players. Quiet and unassuming, Chubb is perhaps the most respected player on Cleveland's roster. He sets the tone with his work ethic and business-like demeanor.
After Chubb went down, quarterback Deshaun Watson and Cleveland's offense struggled for extended stretches in the 26-22 loss, the Browns' 20th consecutive regular-season defeat in Pittsburgh.
One of the few bright spots on a somber evening was backup running back Jerome Ford, who will now step in for Chubb.
A second-year back from Cincinnati, Ford replaced Chubb and rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries, a 6.6 yard average. Ford had a 69-yard run and caught a 3-yard TD pass one play after Chubb's injury.
For now, Pierre Strong Jr. moves up the depth chart behind Ford.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Tom Withers, The Associated Press