BEREA, Ohio — Barkevious Mingo’s injury has gone from maybe serious to mysterious.
Cleveland’s rookie linebacker remains sidelined with a bruised lung, a “freakish” injury the first-round pick from LSU believes he sustained nearly a week ago on the opening kickoff of an exhibition against Detroit.
Mingo was hospitalized for two days with the injury, which he said caused him to twice spit up blood and gave him shortness of breath before he was taken out of last Thursday’s game. Mingo said he has been symptom free since last week, but it’s still not clear when he was injured.
Mingo will not play in Saturday’s preseason game at Indianapolis, and it’s likely he will be kept of the final exhibition against Chicago as well.
On Wednesday, Mingo was seen taking a nap while lying across several chairs in the locker room. After he woke up, he told reporters that he has improved, but that doctors still aren’t allowing him to practice. He reiterated that he does not think the injury occurred before last week’s 24-6 win over the Lions, and said he had never had those symptoms before experiencing them on the sideline.
“Everything is feeling good,” Mingo said. “Everyone is happy with the progress and now we’re just waiting to see what the doctors say, so we can get back.”
Mingo was last seen by doctors and had more tests on Tuesday, but the No. 6 overall pick has not been cleared to practice and hasn’t been told when he’ll be able to return to the field. For the moment, he’s only allowed to observe practice, and doctors have discouraged him from doing any running.
Mingo was joined on the sideline by starting outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard, who was held out with an unspecified knee injury. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski did not mention Sheard as one of the players who would miss practice when he was asked for a list earlier in the day. During practice, a team spokesman said Sheard is day-to-day.
The sight of Mingo and Sheard standing side-by-side on the sideline with towels draped over their heads had to be concerning to the Browns, who are counting on the pair to rush the quarterback. With Sheard out, Quentin Groves worked with Cleveland’s first-team defense on the opposite side of Paul Kruger.
The Browns will wait for Mingo’s bruise to heal completely before he’s allowed back on the field. He’s promised he’ll try to be a patient patient.
“I’m listening to the doctors, listening to the coaches,” he said. “That’s all I know.”
Chudzinski didn’t provide much of an update on Mingo.
“The timeline nobody really knows exactly,” he said. “It is just a matter of how quickly his body heals.”
Mingo doesn’t recall being hit on the opening kickoff last week or remember any significant impact that may have caused his unusual injury. As he waits for medical clearance, Mingo is doing all he can to stay sharp. He’s asking veteran teammates for pointers and offering encouragement as they go through drills without him.
He said it’s not difficult to stay upbeat while watching.
“This is what we do as football players,” he said. “We listen to our coaches and if they say we want you to run down there and hit that guy on the play, you go down there and hit the guy on the play. If you’ve got to sit out for a couple weeks or whatever, you sit out and then you come out ready to go.”
Mingo, who last month signed a four-year, $16.35 million contract with a team option for a fifth year, could only remember missing one game because of injury. He said it’s weird having to watch.
“That’s one thing they (doctors) were talking about,” he said. “You feel great but you’re not going to be (great), so you might as well rest up.”