The handling of the entire Deshaun Watson injury situation has been a total circus from the Cleveland Browns so far. Watson himself hasn't really played into it though, being kept totally away from the media as he recovers from his shoulder injury.
Now the Browns have given us a huge hint that Watson could be expected to return to action in Week 7 — potentially leaking his status for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Watson last spoke to the media on September 27th, which was before his shoulder injury was announced. Since then, his weekly media availability has been cancelled. That was one of the biggest signs last week that it would be P.J. Walker, not Watson, at quarterback against the 49ers.
There's really no reason for the Browns to suddenly change their tune on Watson speaking to the media while hurt at this point — it would give them no potential benefit, and nothing has changed that would make it more appealing this week. That means this is a huge indicator that Watson's return is nearing.
The return couldn't come any sooner. Walker had a tough matchup last week, but he was terrible. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was put in an unfair spot in his start, but he was also terrible.
Watson hasn't been great, sure, but he's not been nearly as bad as the two backups. His return would be an undeniable boost for Cleveland.
The betting markets don't necessarily seem sold on Watson returning, though.
Cleveland is still just a 1.5-point favorite over the Indianapolis Colts, who are without their starting quarterback too.
After upsetting the 49ers, there's almost no way the Browns wouldn't be bigger favorites over the Colts if Watson were playing at full health. The odds have a tendency to shift before news like that becomes public, so this is a bizarre situation where indications from the Browns point to a Watson return, but Vegas points to another Walker start.
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