CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Nick Chubb #24 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a gain during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 10, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bengals 24-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb has been a prominent topic of discussion since the unfortunate incident during Week 2 of the 2023 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he sustained a severe knee injury.

Despite this being the second instance of a similar injury to his left knee, there has been consistently positive news regarding Chubb’s recovery. He underwent two successful surgeries on September 29th, 2023, and November 14th, 2023, addressing his torn MCL and ACL. Medical professionals and the Browns front office have described his progress as being “on track” and positive for his overall outlook.

The only source of confusion lies in determining his potential return date. Initially, the team indicated a broad timeframe of “at some point in 2024” after his first surgery. In November, following the second surgery, the Cleveland Browns stated that “Nick would be able to return to play during the 2024 season.” Despite similar wording, there is a clear distinction between these statements—one suggesting the possibility of readiness before the season and the other firmly indicating otherwise.

In a press conference on January 22nd, Browns general manager Andrew Berry expressed concerns about the situation, highlighting a potentially worrisome trend in Chubb’s return prospects.

While the desire is for Chubb to make a full recovery and return to his dominant form, there is a realistic chance, greater than 0%, that this may not happen. This doesn’t necessarily imply retirement or exclusion from the team; rather, there is a possibility that he may operate at only 70% of his previous capability. While he could maintain efficiency with the ball, the team might opt for a significantly reduced workload for him.

Regardless, Cleveland needs to consider adding another viable option or implementing a backup plan for the 2024 season. Fortunately, both the 2024 free agency and NFL Draft class offer a wealth of talented players at the running back position.

The team’s future statements on Chubb’s progress will be eagerly anticipated as the situation develops.

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