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CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns will start the season missing a pair of defensive ends.
Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas both underwent knee surgeries on Tuesday and will be sidelined into the regular season, depriving Cleveland of depth and potentially forcing the Browns to look outside for help.
The team said Wright and Thomas were both operated on at University Hospitals by Browns physician Dr. James Voos. The Browns expect the players to need “several weeks” to recover and estimate they’ll be back “early in the season.”
Cleveland opens on Sept. 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Wright, a third-round pick in 2022, was injured in the Browns’ 21-16 win over the New York Jets in the Hall of Fame game last Thursday. Thomas, selected in the seventh round last year, got hurt during practice on Saturday.
Coach Kevin Stefanski provided few details about Wright or Thomas on Monday other than to say their injures could carry into the regular season. He said nothing about the potential for surgery.
Their losses could force the Browns to look elsewhere for line depth. Wright and Thomas were listed as the respective Nos. 4 and 5 defensive ends behind All-Pro Myles Garrett, Za’Darius Smith and Ogbo Okoronkwo.
Wright was expected to contribute more as a rookie but had a so-so season. He made five starts and played all 17 games but didn’t get a sack.
Thomas showed some promise, playing 10 games and getting a sack and recovering a fumble.