Barkevious Mingo’s NFL debut has been delayed for at least another week.
The Browns’ speedy rookie linebacker will not play in Sunday’s season opener against Miami as he continues to recover from a bruised lung sustained in an exhibition game last month.
Although he returned to practice on a limited basis this week, Mingo, the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft, has not been cleared for contact and will watch this week.
“I’m disappointed,” Mingo said after Friday’s practice. “I want to be out there with the team. I want to be out there in my first game. But look on the bright side, I’m doing better and I’m just getting ready to come back whenever they let me come back.”
Mingo said he was injured while covering the opening kickoff in an Aug. 15 game against Detroit. He experienced shortness of breath and spit up some blood while he was on the sideline. Mingo was hospitalized for two days at The Cleveland Clinic with the unusual injury that had the Browns worried about their top pick.
This week, Mingo returned to practice but was restricted to positional drills and kept out of any contact situations. When the other Browns linebackers hit the blocking sled, Mingo, who said he has not had any further symptoms from the hit, either stood to the side and watched or ran sprints by himself.
It’s not known when Mingo will be back, and he didn’t seem overly optimistic it will be in Week 2.
“I’m coming back whenever they let me,” he said. “We’ll see what they say whenever they say it. The coaches, the doctors, whenever they tell me I can go out, then I’ll go back.”
Mingo would not say if he underwent further medical tests this week or if doctors were encouraged by his progress, twice saying “that’s personal.”
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski provided few details about Mingo’s status other than to say he’s improving.
“We’ve been evaluating and testing him on a daily basis, the doctors have been constantly doing that,” Chudzinski said. “So we’ll hold him out, and he’s not ready to go yet for this week.”
The first-round pick may not be the only Browns player missing Sunday.
Starting left defensive end Ahtyba Rubin (calf) and right cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder) were kept out of practice with recent injuries and are listed as questionable — a 50 percent chance of playing — for Sunday. Chudzinski said both players sustained their injuries during Thursday’s workout.
Chudzinski said Rubin’s ailment is not related to the calf injury that caused him to miss three games last season. Chudzinski said both players will receive treatment in the next 48 hours in the hopes they can play.