Browns RB Nick Chubb Provides First Update on Recovery From Season-Ending Knee Injury – ‘I’m Right Where I Want To Be’

Browns running back Nick Chubb watched his 2023 season end in devastating fashion. He provided an update on his knee injury for the first time.

Nick Chubb watched his 2023 season end in horror early during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Week 2.

The moment Chubb clutched his left knee near the 14:20 mark while inside the red zone, that was the signal that the consecutive 1,000-yard rusher saw his health change drastically. The star Cleveland Browns running back, known for gashing defenses while tallying four Pro Bowl appearances, eventually would miss the rest of his season.

Chubb’s health has emerged as a hot topic during Browns minicamp. For the first time since that career-altering day, the veteran RB broke his silence about the ailment.

Nick Chubb Speaks on Season-Ending Injury, Timeline for Return

Speaking with reporters following Wednesday’s minicamp session, Chubb admitted he wasn’t in a strong mental state following his knee injury, which resulted in one surgery to repair his MCL, meniscus, and medial capsule, and another to address damage to his ACL.

But witnessing the Browns go on a playoff run and the team checking in on him lifted his spirits.

“I was down mentally for a while,” Chubb, who had suffered a knee injury previously, said. “When you get hurt, it’s one thing. When you get hurt again and you already know what you have to go through — the entire process, surgery, rehab — it’s a non-stop battle every day. So my team did a great job of being there for me, and I was around the building for them. They did a great job, made the playoffs, had a great run.”

Without Chubb, Cleveland went 11-6 and claimed second place in an ultra-competitive AFC North, which produced three playoff teams — including Cleveland — and witnessed all four teams win nine games or more.

The ground game even helped carry the offense in Chubb’s absence, which coincided with a time Cleveland was dealing with another significant injury bug — one that hit the quarterback room.

The Browns cycled through as many as six different QBs due to injuries. They were eventually led to the playoffs by late free agent addition Joe Flacco. The Browns still finished 12th in rushing yards without Chubb.

But will the Browns welcome back Chubb soon enough? Especially with training camp about a month away?

“I’m doing everything that I can at this point,” Chubb said when asked if he’d be ready to go. “I’m right where I want to be.”

Chubb’s Fantasy Outlook for 2024

In Pro Football Network’s newsletter, PFN Daily, Fantasy Football Analyst Kyle Soppe weighed in on Chubb’s value ahead of 2024 as he continues to work his way back on the field.

Soppe knows Chubb, when healthy, is not one to disappoint fantasy owners.

“The next time Nick Chubb averages under 5.0 yards per carry during an NFL season will be his first. He averages 17.7 touches per game during his career and, in an annual sense, has never disappointed fantasy managers when on the field,” Soppe wrote.

Still, Soppe acknowledges that it’ll be tough for Chubb to come back from this season-ending ailment, especially at his age. Soppe, though, is convinced Chubb will return to his impactful self.

“I understand that he is a running back entering his age-28 season and coming off of September knee surgery (MCL and meniscus), but he is being treated as if we’ve actually seen signs of decline. Of course, there is risk involved, but modern medicine is as good as it’s been, and all offseason reports have been optimistic in terms of his recovery,” Soppe said.

Soppe notes how one member of the Browns’ running back room will likely be the odd man out of the starting rotation once Chubb is officially cleared to take part in contact drills.

“Jerome Ford was fine last season, and his versatility will get him on the field, but nothing he put on tape in 2023 suggests that he deserves to be considered as a true threat to work for Chubb (assuming health),” Soppe said.

Chubb will be walking into a loaded Browns offense once he’s healthy enough to do so. And this time, Chubb is heading into a “gold” scenario as Soppe described.

“With Deshaun Watson under center and 3-4 viable pass catchers, this offense figures to be in scoring position on a regular basis, gold for a pounding back like Chubb, who has 48 rushing scores in his 77 career games,” Soppe said.

Overall, Soppe is high on Chubb’s value and even gave him a “sleeper” label in the fantasy realm.

“Chubb is being overlooked in redraft leagues to a degree, but his stock in long-term formats has tanked. Due to his consistency, safety in role, and upside that comes with an offense that I generally trust to put him in advantageous spots, Chubb qualifies as a dynasty sleeper for me at his current asking price,” Soppe said.

Browns’ Running Back Depth Chart

With Chubb out, Ford emerged as the reliable chain mover in the Browns’ ground game. The 24-year-old racked up a team-high 813 yards and scored four times.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder even broke out on the night Chubb sustained his agonizing knee injury, responding with 106 yards on 16 carries in the narrow 26-22 loss in Pittsburgh.

Ford went on to deliver one more 100-yard outing, which was against the Baltimore Ravens, with a 107-yard day on Nov. 12.

Cleveland also turned to a familiar backfield face in Kareem Hunt, who tacked on 411 yards and crossed the goal line nine times to lead the Browns. Hunt is currently an unsigned free agent, which helps fuel the notion Ford has RB2 duties locked in.

However, the Browns ensured there will be more available veterans in the event Chubb isn’t ready. Cleveland added two former starting RBs in Nyheim Hynes and D’Onta Foreman. They have a combined 38 starts between them, with Foreman cracking the starting role for the Chicago Bears in eight games last season.

Hynes and Foreman aren’t the only veterans with past starting experience in the Browns’ RB room. Pierre Strong remains in Cleveland after finishing third on the team with 291 yards. John Kelly Jr. and towering 6’2″ rookie Aidan Robbins, who went undrafted out of BYU, round out the rest of the Browns’ backfield.

Cleveland has veteran options available if Chubb’s rehab extends to training camp. But Chubb revealed he’s right where he wants to be in his preparation for 2024 — and ready to reclaim RB1 again following his shortened ’23.

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