With a big week 2 matchup against the New Orleans Saints looming on Sunday, Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron has not been ruled out of playing in the game as he continues to battle a shoulder injury.
Cameron, who burst onto the scene last season with 80 receptions, 917 yards and 7 touchdowns in what was an otherwise disappointing year for the Browns, underwent an MRI Wednesday, which showed no structural damage to the shoulder. Cameron initially injured his shoulder in early-August, before aggravating it during Sunday's season-opening loss at Pittsburgh. The nature of the injury is a sprain to the AC joint, and Cameron says he and the team will take a day-to-day approach in regards to his status for Sunday and beyond.
"Yeah, it's all good," he said. "Right now, it's just a day-by-day thing. Just seeing how it feels when I wake up, and we'll go from there...kind of an unlucky deal. I landed on it wrong and that's how it is."
Cameron and the Browns insist that the injury is not, nor will it become a chronic issue. The 6-5 playmaker, who has become the focal point of Cleveland's passing game as leading receiver Josh Gordon remains suspended, will need plenty of rest and rehabilitation to ensure a recovery, though suffering an injury and subsequent reaggravation this early in the year will likely come down to pain management in regards to his availability on game day.
"I knew it was a similar injury to what I did earlier, so I was kind of prepared for how it was going to be," the Pro Bowler said. "You can't protect yourself. You can't say, 'hey, guys, don't hit me.' That's why you've got to be ready to go into it, you can't be 50-50 on it. It's going to get hit, so you've got to be able to take a hit."
Cameron will likely be limited in practice for the forseeable future, which will only help increase the cloudiness surrounding his availability. Range-of-motion exercises and pain medication should help manage the discomfort, though Cleveland could take a page from the Carolina Panthers' book, and look to shelf Cameron for a week or two in order to enhance his chances of recovering.
Last week, Carolina elected to withhold QB Cam Newton from their week 1 meeting with Tampa Bay, as the signal-caller battled a lingering rib injury from preseason. Having taken advantage of an extra week to heal, Newton is now expected to play this weekend against Detroit. Jordan Cameron (shoulder) is questionable for Sunday's matchup with the Saints.
If Cameron does suit up on Sunday, he will not be the only dynamic playmaker at the tight end position, as the Saints will feature their own hoss in the form of Jimmy Graham. Cameron is aware of Graham's abilities, and would hope to make a similar impact for his team if he is not restricted by this injury.
"Obviously it's not like me vs. him," said Cameron. "But you're going against a guy who's one of the best tight ends in the NFL and you want to match whatever he brings. He's a great player and I'm looking forward to that matchup."
Gary Barnidge would likely get the start if Cameron were to sit out against New Orleans. In six seasons, mostly as a reserve, Barnidge has caught 31 passes and scored three touchdowns.
In response to Cameron's setback, the Browns signed tight end Gerrell Robinson off of the Denver Broncos' practice squad. Cleveland also brought in free agent Kellen Davis for a workout on Tuesday, perhaps signalling more concerns over Cameron's immediate availability. Davis had spent part of the 2013 offseason with the team. Cleveland will definitely be without the services of RB Ben Tate this weekend, thrusting rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell into increased action.
For fantasy owners, it will be interesting to see how much, if at all, Jordan Cameron practices this week. He is officially listed as "Questionable" on the team's injury report, giving him a 50-50 chance to play Sunday.
For owners taking a wait-and-see approach to the situation, if another suitable alternative is not already rostered, some may be found on the waiver wire between now and Sunday.
Some players that may be available include the likes of Delanie Walker, Zach Miller, Travis Kelce, Dwayne Allen, Larry Donnell and Jeff Cumberland.
As for Cameron, if he does play, the 6-5 USC alum projects as Brendan Cole's 10th-ranked tight end for week 2.
Fantasy Owners, Cleveland Browns fans, coaches and players, alike, will all hope to see Jordan Cameron in uniform on Sunday afternoon, as long as the player is feeling healthy and able enough to be anything close to his usual difference-making self. His status will be updated later today when the team releases its latest injury report.
If there is anyone hoping to see Cameron active on Sunday, it is QB Brian Hoyer, who will hope to have his trusty playmaker at the ready as the Browns will look to score points against a Saints team that is capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
"This game is unpredictable and you never know what the circumstances are going to be," Hoyer said. "Obviously (Cameron and Gordon) are key components to our offense. Like I said before, the next guys got to be ready to step up and I think that our guys are capable of doing it. I have a lot of confidence in everybody on offense and defense for that matter too."