The blows don’t stop for the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns are placing left guard Joel Bitonio on injured reserve with a foot injury, the team announced Friday. The third-year guard suffered the injury against the New England Patriots on Sunday and played through it, but now, it likely will end his season.
Bitonio, 25, was blossoming into one of the better young linemen in the game playing beside perennial All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas. The Browns took Bitonio from Nevada in the second round of the 2014 draft, and he since has started all 21 games he’s played. He did miss six games last season with an ankle injury.
The running game was the one source of strength so far this season for the last remaining winless team in the NFL. Through five weeks, Cleveland ranks fifth in the league with 124.8 rushing yards per game despite a rash of injuries at the center and right guard positions. Now, Bitonio’s injury only will add to the disarray.
The Browns did win a waiver claim for guard Jonathan Cooper, the former No. 7 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals who was traded to the Patriots and then released. Cooper has yet to play this season with a foot injury of his own and will need to pass a physical with the Browns before he is able to stay on the roster.