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Cleveland loses Brown and Winslow to injury

Kellen Winslow Jr.’s hyped rookie year may be over after it barely began — much like a promising season for the Cleveland Browns.

Courtney Brown is done, too. Another serious injury has ended the former No. 1 overall draft pick’s 2004 season and perhaps the defensive end’s career as well.

Winslow broke his right leg Sunday and will miss at least two months with the injury, one of six suffered by Cleveland starters in a loss at Dallas.

The roll call of other banged-up Browns includes: defensive tackle Gerard Warren (pulled chest muscle), cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (broken middle finger), right tackle Ryan Tucker (strained quadriceps) and left guard Paul Zukauskas (strained knee ligament).

And then there’s Brown, who tore a ligament in his left foot, ending another comeback.

It could be the final setback for the talented but seemingly fragile Brown, whose determination to keep coming back from injury has inspired his teammates.

Brown has been sidelined by injuries to both knees, his ankle, neck and elbow. Now it’s his foot.

“He’s frustrated,” Browns coach Butch Davis said. “He feels like he let the team down. He apologized. Nobody cares more than Courtney Brown does. He just has some hard luck.”

The team said Brown will undergo surgery today and will need six months to recover. The former Penn State star will be placed on injured reserve for the fourth straight year. He may soon be joined there by Winslow.

Davis may choose to end Winslow’s first pro season after two games by putting him on IR.

“It is something that we have discussed and at this time the answer is ‘No,”‘ Davis said.

But as Cleveland was reminded by the 19-12 loss to the Cowboys, things can change very quickly in the NFL. Just a week ago, the Browns were riding high after a surprising win over Baltimore in their season opener.

Euphoria has been replaced by despair.

“It’s a huge hit,” said Warren, who will miss at least two weeks after aggravating a strained pectoral muscle. “There’s so much that he (Winslow) brings to this team.”

Unfortunately, good luck isn’t part of Winslow’s package as the Browns have again been ravaged by injuries. Last season, Cleveland ended the year with 13 players on the injured list and had 10 offensive players miss a total of 65 starts.

This season has been even worse, with three first-round draft picks hurt already.

It was a troubling sign when Davis was accompanied to his weekly news conference by head trainer Mike Colello to discuss the Browns’ recent rash of injuries.

“I was brought in because of the unusual circumstances,” Colello said.

Winslow fractured his fibula — a bone in his lower leg — while scrambling after an onside kick in the final seconds as the Browns tried to rally.

The first-round draft pick will have surgery today and needs screws and plates inserted to stabilize the break that was clean through the bone, Colello said.

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