Browns RB Nick Chubb Undergoes First Knee Surgery; 2024 Return In Play

Nick Chubb‘s long road to recovery began earlier this week, undergoing surgery to address, among other things, the MCL tear he suffered in Week 2. The team announced on Saturday that his procedure – performed the day prior – was a success.

The Friday operation was scheduled in the wake of Chubb being learned to have suffered a torn MCL, but not a full ACL tear as a result of the hit he took in Cleveland’s loss to the Steelers. Yesterday’s surgery was aimed at addressing the MCL damage, along with that done to his medial capsule and meniscus. As expected, a second operation will be required; that subsequent procedure, which take place “in the coming months,” will tend to his ACL.

The Browns’ statement on the Chubb surgery adds a return to the field at some point in 2024 is in play. While much of his recovery timeline will depend on the success of the second surgery, that update offers optimism regarding the four-time Pro Bowler’s long-term future. A return next season would be a welcomed development for Cleveland’s most consistent offensive producer, and it would represent a best-case scenario for all parties.

As ESPN’s Jake Trotter notes, the Browns initially feared Chubb suffered a more serious injury than he actually did. The fact he has a path to returning to the lineup next year has financial significance, as that is the final year of the 27-year-old’s contract. No guaranteed money remains on his three-year, $36.6MM deal after this season, so it will be interesting to see how the team handles Chubb’s situation given the injury but also his central importance to the team’s offense.

While the four-time 1,000-yard rusher (who has posted high-end totals while averaging 5.3 yards per carry in his career) cannot be fully replaced, the Browns made the unsurprising move of reuniting with Kareem Hunt in the wake of the Chubb injury. The veteran, along with 2022 fifth-rounder Jerome Ford, is tasked with handling the load for the remainder of the season as Cleveland aims to maintain a strong ground game. While the team is shorthanded in the backfield for the time being, a Chubb return next season can at least be loosely counted on in the wake of a succesful first step in his rehab process.

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