Defensive tackle Siaki Ika — who was inactive for the Browns’ regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals — will also miss the second game of his career due to a foot injury, according to Jared Mueller of SB Nation’s Dawgs By Nature.
Ika was the only player sidelined during Friday’s practice, per Camryn Justice of WEWS Cleveland.
“#Browns DT Siaki Ika was the only player not participating in the open portion of practice,” Justice posted to X on September 15. “He was wearing a medical boot today in the locker room.”
Cleveland selected Ika out of Baylor with the No. 98 pick in third round. He was the Browns’ first overall selection of this year’s NFL Draft. Despite now playing behind a revamped defensive front that includes free-agent acquisitions Dalvin Tomlinson and Shelby Harris, Ika is expected to contribute as a run defender during his rookie campaign.
Browns May Be Without Top Wide Receiver Amari Cooper Against Steelers
The less certain, but decidedly more important, injury news over the weekend is that Browns’ top wide receiver Amari Cooper could miss Monday night with a re-aggravated hamstring injury.
Cooper sustained the injury during Saturday’s practice, per a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.
“Browns’ WR Amari Cooper, who aggravated a groin injury at practice Saturday and is listed as questionable for Monday night, is considered unlikely to play vs. the Steelers, per source,” Schefter posted to X on Sunday.
The potential loss of Cooper is as close to a big deal and a relative non-issue as a player injury can be simultaneously. On the one hand, Cooper is team’s WR1 and primary threat in the passing game after producing 1,160 yards and nine touchdowns on 78 receptions in 2022, per Pro Football Reference.
On the other hand, the Browns’ primary weakness through the preseason and Week 1 appears to be its passing attack. Cooper caught just three balls on seven targets for 37 yards in the team’s opener against the Bengals. Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for only 154 yards, completing 55.2% of his 29 pass attempts and recording one touchdown along with an interception.
The heavy rain in Cleveland likely had an impact on Watson’s performance, and the weather in Pittsburgh is forecast to be partly cloudy and clement on Monday night. Watson is primed for a better showing because of that, though the Browns remain likely to favor a rushing attack that amassed 206 yards against Cincinnati in Week 1.
Most of Browns ‘Questionable’ Players Should be Healthy Enough to go Vs. Steelers
As for the rest of the Browns roster, safety Juan Thornhill returned to practice late in the week after being sidelined with a calf injury and was listed as questionable on the team’s Friday injury report.
Defensive tackles Harris and Maurice Hurst were limited participants in practice earlier in the week due to Achilles and hamstring injuries, respectively. Both returned to full participation on Friday.
Offensive tackle Jedrick Wills, who was on the injury report due to a foot issue, was also back at practice on Friday afternoon.