CLEVELAND - The only certainty concerning linebacker Barkevious Mingo's lung injury is that he won't play Saturday when the Browns are on the road to play the Indianapolis Colts.
Beyond that, the mystery of the bruised lung Mingo suffered last Thursday in the first half of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions remains unsettled. Mingo, a first-round pick in this year's draft, began to struggle with his breathing after participating on special-team plays exclusively. He was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, where he remained two nights.
One report stated that Mingo would miss only one week, but the serious nature of the injury indicates that he might miss the remaining preseason games against the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears and perhaps the season opener.
It's a blow to the development of Mingo, who is being counted on to spice up the pass rush. Losing two preseason games might not be as bad as lost time in practice.
"I do better when I can learn stuff," Mingo said after watching practice Saturday. "Now I'm missing valuable reps that can help me down the season."
Mingo isn't exactly sure when the injury occurred. He started having trouble breathing after appearing on punt coverage. He later started spitting up blood.
"I'm trying to think back to what happened, and I didn't feel a hit was delivered that hard to make that happen," Mingo said. "It was a shock to me. They're doing everything they can to get me back right and on the field."
Mingo knew early in the game that something wasn't right. The symptoms continued during the first half, at which time he sought medical attention.
"I was playing special teams," he said. "I ran down and after the play I didn't feel right. I kept going. I couldn't catch my breath. Went to my coach. He thought it would be a good idea to go to the trainers. I went to them and they thought it was a good idea to pull me."
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton realizes that missed practice time will hinder Mingo's development, but he's not sure how much it will hurt.
"For a young guy, he needs every rep he can get," Horton said. "He's smart. He's on page. For us, it's just reps. It's seeing a different look. It's seeing (Colts quarterback) Andrew Luck. It's seeing different fronts, what they have and how they want to block him.
"It will retard a little bit, but he's pretty gifted in what he does and he picks things up fast. How much? I can't give you a quantitative answer, but it will hurt him a little bit."
Mingo was understandably surprised when informed of the identity of the injury by doctors. His mom became upset when she mistakenly thought he had cracked ribs.
"The ribs are perfect," Mingo said. "Not pain; no bruising; not sore. The doctors were surprised, too. They figured there should be some soreness, but there wasn't."
Mingo felt good enough to leave the Clinic Friday, but doctors wanted him to remain one more night for observation. He said nothing special was done in terms of treatment. It was two days of bed rest and watching television.
"They gave me a bed; they gave me a TV," he said. "They said, 'Watch this and don't move. You'll be okay. '"
Mingo hasn't been told he won't play against the Colts, but it's highly unlikely.