After popping up on the injury report on Thursday, Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward did not practice of Friday as he deals with a groin injury.
The Browns are set to take on the Washington Football Team on Sunday, and while Ward's game status most likely won't be clear until closer to kickoff, he appears to be trending in the wrong direction.
The talented third-year corner was set to shadow Washington's top receiving weapon Terry McLaurin on Sunday. The two were teammates at Ohio State and are both rising stars in the league, setting the stage for an exciting battle.
Should Ward not be able to go, it would be a major blow for Cleveland's secondary. The unit has struggled to stop opposing quarterbacks and pass-catchers through two weeks, coming off a Week 2 game in which rookie Joe Burrow threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns. With Ward acting as one of the few bright spots, a weak portion of the defense would get weaker.
As for Washington, the absence of Ward would potentially make things easier for a passing game that has struggled out of the gate. McLaurin could be primed for a big game, as the second-year receiver is coming off a game in which he put up seven catches for 125 yards and one score against the uber-talented Patrick Peterson. Without Ward to cover him, another big day on the stat sheet is plausible.
The injury would, in turn, help Dwayne Haskins, as he would have an easier time looking for his favorite target and finding open receivers as a whole.
Ward's status will be one to monitor closely as Sunday approaches, as his final designation will have a large impact on the flow of the game.