Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins 'unlikely' to be ready for Texans, Stefanski says

Jan. 9—The playoffs begin Jan 13 for the Browns, and it's looking like they will be without their leading scorer, Dustin Hopkins, for a third straight game.

Hopkins's left hamstring was pulled Dec. 24 when he was trying to catch Texans kick returner Dameon Pierce in the second quarter. Hopkins had no chance of running down the speedier Pierce, but he couldn't turn off his competitive juice and ended up with an injury that could jeopardize the Browns' chances of advancing in the playoffs.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said it is "unlikely" Hopkins will be healed in time to face the Texans in the wild-card opener. Hopkins has not practiced since being injured.

"He's progressing, but I don't think he'll be ready for this week," Stefanski said Jan. 9.

Hopkins converted 33 of 36 field goal attempts and kicked four game-winning field goals in the regular season. Riley Patterson would be elevated from the practice squad to handle the kicking chores unless Hopkins makes a surprising recovery.

The news is better on other injured players. Wide receiver Cedric Tillman remains in concussion protocol. Amari Cooper missed the last two regular season games and did not practice Jan. 9, but should be ready for the Texans,

Stefanski also said safety Grant Delpit might be activated from injured reserve in time to line up against Houston. Delpit has missed the last four games with a groin injury.

Cornerback Greg Newsome missed the season finale with a knee injury and did not practice Jan. 9, but he expects to be ready for the Texans. Newsome was one of the many veterans rested against the Bengals on Jan. 7.

"I hate just sitting there and not playing, but it was definitely important just to get my body a little bit fresher, just to get into this final four-game stretch," Newsome said Jan. 9.

Stefanski was asked which quarterback will be Joe Flacco's backup, but all he would say is, "We're working through all that."

Jeff Driskel and P.J. Walker are competing for the backup job.