Cleveland QB may miss Steelers game

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor


Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio - Charlie Frye looked at the powdered snow piled up on the fields outside the Browns' indoor practice facility. Packing a snowball was out of the question. So was throwing a football.
Frye didn't practice because of a bruised right wrist Tuesday, leaving the starting quarterback's status uncertain for Cleveland's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.
If Frye can't play, the Browns will turn to backup Derek Anderson, who came in and rallied them to a 31-28 overtime victory against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Anderson had never thrown a pass in the NFL before riding in to the rescue.
Now, the second-year QB's first career start could come against the defending Super Bowl champions.
"It's pretty cool," Anderson said of the possibility. "I'm excited about it, if it happens."
Anderson's chances look pretty good. With only one full day of practice in a shortened work week, the Browns have little time to piece together a game plan for the Steelers, who scored 21 fourth-quarter points and beat them 24-20 on Nov. 19.
Frye wants another crack at Pittsburgh, and hopes his wrist cooperates.
"It's sore and I'm just doing whatever I can to get ready to play," said Frye, who got hurt on Cleveland's first offensive series. "This is a game I definitely had circled."
He may have to put an 'X' through it.
Frye will spend at least another day with his wrist immobilized in a brace. On Wednesday, team doctors will reevaluate his injury, which the club feared was a break before X-rays and MRI results came back negative.
Frye only has a bone bruise. If it was anywhere else on his body but on the wrist he uses to throw, he would likely play. Still, the strong-willed, second-year QB, who has been sacked 43 times and pounded countless others this season, is holding out hope he can heal quickly.
And until told otherwise, Frye thinks he has a chance of facing the Steelers.
"There's always going to be a shot in my mind," he said. "Maybe not in the doctor's minds or the trainer's minds but in my mind there is always a shot. And if there's a shot, then I still got hope."
Even if Frye is cleared by doctors, he'll have to pass coach Romeo Crennel's tests on Wednesday. Crennel wants to see how well Frye takes snaps and throws before deciding on his starter.
"Charlie is going to say he wants to play," Crennel said. "We have to see what he's able to do. He's taken some hits and he's been banged up. He's been able to play through some of those things."
Frye, though, said his fate lies with Dr. Anthony Miniaci, the team's head physician.
"As much as I want to play, it's really not up to me," Frye said. "It's up to doc. He didn't think I could play in the game on Sunday. It's really up to him."
Whoever is under center for the Browns will have to deal with Pittsburgh's trademark zone blitzes. The Steelers love to put heat on quarterbacks, especially youngsters who have never experienced Pittsburgh's pressure.
The first time Frye faced the Steelers, he was sacked eight times, fumbled four times and sustained a concussion in a 41-0 loss on Christmas Eve last season. Frye fared better in the club's previous meeting this year, but was still sacked five times.
Anderson has been warned about what's coming.
"Pittsburgh brings a lot of pressure," he said. "We just have to deal with it. "Getting the ball out of my hands will be a big thing. I just have to step into my throws."
And out of trouble.
Anderson was able to avoid Kansas City's rush. He was sacked once - in OT - but on the next play, he scrambled right and lumbered down the sideline for 33 yards to set up Phil Dawson's game-winning field goal.
The 6-foot-6 Anderson didn't break any land-speed records on his run and the former Oregon State QB said he's gotten plenty of grief about it during the past two days.
"All my buddies in college gave me a hard time about it," he said. "They were like, `Why couldn't you do that when you were here?' I did every once in a while."