The Cleveland Browns get some good news on the Mack Wilson injury front.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, “The current expectation is that Browns LB Mack Wilson will not need surgery on his hyperextended knee, per source. Barring change, looks like a loose timetable of four-to-six weeks upon return, depending how knee responds. Good news for Browns D.” This certainly beats the alternative of him missing most of the 2020 NFL season.
What game should we expect Mack Wilson’s return to the Cleveland Browns?
Wilson was drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama. While it’s always a tricky proposition to draft a former Alabama Crimson Tide standout because you never really know how much tread is left on the tires, the Browns seemed high enough on Wilson to allow four-year pro Joe Schobert walk in his free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Assuming Fowler’s timeline of four-to-six weeks being correct, let’s take a look at what is on the horizon for a potential return date for Wilson to the Browns’ starting lineup. Will they be able to hold serve without him for an additional month or so, or will the team already be in dire straits before he’s even healthy enough to take the field for them? Here is the Browns’ early schedule.
Browns’ first eight games of 2020 NFL season
- Week 1: at Baltimore Ravens (Sept. 13)
- Week 2: vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Sept. 17)
- Week 3: vs. Washington Football Team (Sept. 27)
- Week 4: at Dallas Cowboys (Oct. 4)
- Week 5: vs. Indianapolis Colts (Oct. 11)
- Week 6: at Pittsburgh Steelers (Oct. 18)
- Week 7: at Cincinnati Bengals (Oct. 25)
- Week 8: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (Nov. 1)
Assuming precisely four weeks from Aug. 31, Wilson could be good to at practice beginning on Yom Kippur, Monday, Sept. 28. This would mean he would miss the Browns’ first three games of the season: at the Baltimore Ravens (Sept. 13), vs. the Cincinnati Bengals (Sept. 17) and vs. the Washington Football Team (Sept. 27). Cleveland can win the last two without him for sure.
With a four-week recovery period, Wilson may be ready to play for Week 4’s road date vs. the Dallas Cowboys, a game where the Browns will definitely need him to win. If it is a six-week recovery period, Wilson may be ready to return on Monday, Oct. 12, which is Columbus Day. He’d miss the Cowboys game and the home date vs. the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 11.
Though the Browns can tread water without Wilson in the first five weeks of the year, they’d be lucky to go 3-2 in their first five games without him. In a worst-case scenario, he should be back in the lineup by Week 6’s divisional rivalry game at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 18. With two more games after that before the bye, Cleveland should be somewhere between 6-2 and 3-5.
Should the Browns get Wilson back before the bye week, they should be in good shape this fall.