BEREA — Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow spent a second straight night in the hospital Friday with an undisclosed illness, but the Browns remained hopeful that he might be able to play Monday night against the Giants.
Coach Romeo Crennel said there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll play, and Winslow was officially listed as questionable on the injury report. Winslow was fine early in the week, then didn’t feel good when he woke up Wednesday morning. He hasn’t practiced since.
Crennel said Friday morning he anticipated Winslow being released from the Cleveland Clinic later in the day, but by afternoon the team announced he would be staying overnight.
“He has an illness,” Crennel said. “I’ve spoken with him. In some cases there’s some privacy that’s involved, so I’m not talking about his illness.
“His arms and legs are not falling off or anything like that and he’s truly questionable for the game.”
The Browns (1-3) would be at a distinct disadvantage if Winslow can’t play versus New York (4-0). He’s their leading receiver with 19 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown despite drawing a heavy dose of double teams.
Crennel said he’s preparing to play with and without Winslow.
“We’ve got to plan both ways. He’s truly 50-50,” Crennel said. “If it gets to a point where the doctors say, ‘No, he cannot play,’ then I’ll let you know that.
“We know he’ll be out there if at all possible.”
If Winslow can’t go, backup Steve Heiden and third-stringer Darnell Dinkins would move up the depth chart. Heiden has a catch for 9 yards this season and Dinkins has been shut out. Crennel said rookie Martin Rucker, who recently returned to practice following knee surgery, isn’t ready to play.
“Obviously Kellen’s a special player,” said Heiden, who’s started 69 games, including three this year in two-tight end formations. “I will never say that I can’t do the things that someone else can do. If it comes to that, I’ll be ready.
“He’s a very important piece, so I’m just hoping he can get back by Monday.”
Winslow, 25, hasn’t missed a game since 2005, when he missed the season after a motorcycle accident. He needed surgery on his knee, then suffered a staph infection. The current illness is not believed to be staph.
Dinkins, who had a productive preseason with Winslow and Heiden sidelined by injuries, said he talked to Winslow but didn’t know the nature of the illness.
“But I hope he plays,” Dinkins said. “This is a league you want all your best players to play. I hope he’s fine whatever’s going on with him. I hope he’s back, because we need him.
“Anybody who knows him knows the hard work he puts in.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.