Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, arguably the team’s best player, underwent surgery on his left ankle Wednesday. Will he be ready by the season opener?
Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden underwent surgery on his left ankle Wednesday, according to an official update on the team’s website. The concerning news adds to the already frustrating offseason for Browns fans.
Haden, 26, is coming off an injury riddled 2015 campaign. He appeared in only five games, recording 22 tackles and zero interceptions for the first time since 2011.
The ankle injury occurred during the Browns Week 8 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The team seems cautiously optimistic about the procedure, saying he “should be” ready for the beginning of the 2016 season. After Haden’s nightmarish 2015 season, entering the new campaign injury-less should be a priority.
Haden ended last season on injury reserve for concussion related issues, but it turns out he was dealing with much more. The Browns’ update states the two-time Pro Bowl selection was inactive eight games due to “concussion, rib, finger and ankle injuries.”
In six seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Haden has appeared in 77 games, starting 68, and racked up 89 passes defended with 16 interceptions. Despite the injury plagued 2015 season, he remains the Browns’ best defensive player. The release of veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby and departure of Pro Bowl safety Tashaun Gipson in free agency solidifies this notion.
We saw what the Browns’ defense looked like with Haden out and both Dansby and Gipson playing, I don’t want to know what it would like absent all three. If Haden is unable to go Week 1, their options are limited. Veteran Tramon Williams, Pierre Desir, and the woefully underachieving Justin Gilbert will need to step up, especially Gilbert. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has to be praying for a healthy season from Haden.
The old adage “when it rains it pours” could not be more truthful for the Cleveland Browns organization.