According to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, Thomas took a hit to the shoulder during practice and started to walk away. After just a few steps, however, he dropped to a knee and was laid on his back by the training staff.
Soon after they had strapped him to a stretcher, immobilizing his head and neck. He was transported to a local hospital for further testing.
— WKYC Channel 3 News (@wkyc) August 12, 2019
“It was just precautionary,” Kitchens said after the practice, via USA Today. “Just making sure everything is OK. Any time something happens like a stinger or anything dealing with any issues like that, you want to be more cautious than anything and that’s what we’re doing.”
By 5 p.m. on Monday night, per the report, Thomas was out of the hospital and back at the team’s facility. The team announced that he had a sprained neck and is listed as day-to-day. He is still likely to join the team later this week for a pair of joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts.
Can’t text or call errbody but I’m good. Put some dirt on that shit.
— MajorNine™️ (@MajorNine) August 12, 2019
“It’s one of the worst things,” left guard Joel Bitonio said, via Cleveland.com. “Injuries in football are what you fear the most, and to see a guy get carted off, hopefully, it’s all precautionary stuff and he’s doing OK. I saw him moving and I saw him standing after the play, and I think he went down after that. Hopefully, he’s doing all right, but they just want to take every measure.
“It’s tough to finish a practice after you see that. He’s one of your guys. Unfortunately, it happens in games and you just kind of pick it back up. It’s never easy, but we tried to get some more good plays in, tried to get some more good periods in and just finish the best we could.”
Thomas is in his second year in the league, after the Browns selected him in the third round of the 2018 draft. The 23-year-old appeared in just four games last season.
While Kitchens knows how tough it is to continue practicing after an injury like that, he knew they had to push on. He took a break from practice to update the rest of the team shortly after the injury, and said he had full faith in his training staff.
“Sometimes that happens during the course of a game and mentally we've got to keep moving forward,” Kitchens said, via Cleveland.com. “At the end of the day, this is still practice, so you don't want to see your teammate laying there. But again, the protocol for anything like that is sometimes it looks worse than it is.
“Not to make any light of it. It’s a serious nature, but Joe [Sheehan] and his staff did everything to protocol to make sure there was no damage done after the fact.”
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