Doctors for the Browns and for quarterback Baker Mayfield were in lockstep that he could not be allowed to play Thursday night with a significant left shoulder injury, sources said, and he could miss more games to come. Mayfield was pushing to play again, wearing a harness to try to protect his non-throwing shoulder, but the decision was taken out of his hands.
Mayfield has endured two massive blows to that shoulder, including in Week 6 when he suffered a torn labrum, and he told FOX that he also has a fractured shoulder bone. Sources said the swelling from this latest injury made it impossible for Mayfield to go through the rehab work necessary to strengthen the muscles in that area sufficiently to play Thursday night, and he may not be able to do so for Week 8, either. Unless the doctors feel that Mayfield has the necessary physical wherewithal to "adequately protect himself" from further injury, he will not return, I'm told, and there is always the possibility that more damage to the shoulder will hasten the timeline for a surgical procedure, which would result in a more sustained absence as well.
While Mayfield can navigate oncoming danger when he sees it coming, and run out of bounds or slide to avoid contact, the greater concern is with him getting hit from behind; in those instances he is naturally going to be using both arms and shoulders to brace himself, which opens him up to vulnerable situations which the harness alone cannot mitigate.
The Browns are very confident in backup Case Keenum's ability to navigate the offense, and their doctors have been simpatico with the outside opinion through this process to this point. Mayfield is determined to attack his rehab as soon as the swelling allows, but avoiding further complications may prove impossible, something that's not lost on anyone within that organization as the Browns seek a return to the playoffs.