BEREA - A couple of weeks ago the Browns were one of the healthier teams in the NFL.
Now, because of a hit here and a hit there, the Browns are hurting at keys areas and will limp into the season finale Sunday on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden went down in the third quarter of the 34-12 loss to the Denver Broncos with a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Colt McCoy, who might get a start against the Steelers.
Running back Trent Richardson injured an ankle late in the game. He was carted off the field with what at first looked like a serious injury, but he felt better Monday and could be available Sunday.
In addition, cornerback Sheldon Brown suffered a concussion when he was leveled by Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley.
Coach Pat Shurmur didn't rule out either Weeden or Richardson for the game against the Steelers. Both will approach the week on a day-to-day status.
Weeden's injury appeared serious at first. He was seen standing on the sideline holding his shoulder and grimacing in pain.
"At this point it's a sprain," Shurmur said. "We'll just see where that goes."
The question now becomes why would Shurmur use either player in a meaningless final game of the season and risk further injury? Richardson, in particular, appears to be in need of a rest after dealing with a rib injury from the second game of the season. He also had knee surgery in mid-August.
"I want to see if he can come back and play because I think it's important if guys are physically able to play that they play," Shurmur said. "That's the competitive nature of this game."
Shurmur became a bit perturbed at his Monday press conference when asked why he had McCoy passing late in what had become a blowout, especially with Weeden on the bench with an injury.
"You mean just run the ball and get out of there and warm up the buses," Shurmur said. "We were trying to do what we could to move the football. At that time it was a three-score game. Typically, that means throw it.
"You don't want anyone to get hurt, but I think it's important that we try to do what we have to do to win the game."
Shurmur thought that Weeden was playing better than he did a week earlier against Washington at the time he was hurt. Weeden was 12-of-19 for 104 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns. He missed a couple of open receivers, most notably Josh Gordon on a deep route near the goal line.
"I thought he was playing a pretty efficient game," Shurmur said. "He got sacked once in the red zone against a pretty good rush. When he got hit (on the injury), it was a hot throw. We have to get rid of the football there. Aside from the fact we kicked field goals other than scoring touchdowns, he was playing much better than he did a week before."
With one game remaining in the season, Shurmur could be entering his final week as coach. He mentioned the possibility of changes without elaborating on his situation specifically.
Shurmur believes that the Browns have made strides this season. That might not be enough to save his job.
"It's a journey, and we've had to make this journey this year with change and looming change," Shurmur said. "That's what you push through. We're one of 20 teams that aren't in the playoffs, where you want to be one of 12. As we push through this we have to make decisions to make this team better, and unfortunately that involves change, too."