CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson practiced Thursday for the second straight day and signs point to him starting Sunday against Arizona after missing most of the past month with a right shoulder injury.
Watson was the first Cleveland QB to take reps in passing drills, an indication the Browns (4-3) are preparing him to face the Cardinals (1-7).
His passes were tight, on target and thrown with similar velocity to what he displayed in Wednesday's workout, which was indoors. Watson looked just as good outside during the 20-minute period open to media members Thursday.
Watson has started just one of four games since initially injuring his throwing shoulder against Tennessee on Sept. 24.
The Browns will see how his shoulder responds to a heavy workload before making any decisions about Sunday.
Watson wasn't ready to proclaim his return to the field this weekend before he passed the eye test in practice.
“I’m not even sure, just following the medical protocols and we’ll just go from there,” Watson said. “It’s part of the process. It’s part of the protocols because you can’t cannot throw and then just go out there to try to play a game. So it’s just part of the process and we just take it day by day.”
Watson suffered a rotator cuff strain in the Titans game when he took a shot to the back of his shoulder on a running play. He has missed three games entirely and played just 12 snaps after starting at Indianapolis on Oct. 22 and falling on his shoulder.
Watson, who has played only 10 of 24 possible games for Cleveland since being acquired in a trade and signing a $230 million contract, acknowledged that he made a mistake in rushing back to play against the Colts.
While there have been times when he and the team's medical staff seemed at odds, Watson said they're in concert now.
“We’ve all got to be on the same page,” he said. "I told the guys that I was ready Indianapolis week. That was my decision, and look, I wasn’t ready. I tried to jump the gun a little bit and it didn’t go our way.
“So at the end of the day, you’ve got to listen to the experts and all the things that they did. It’s my first time dealing with it (a shoulder injury), so of course I know my body, so I’m keeping track of everything that I’m doing and letting them know what’s going on and what, what’s good and what’s not good.”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski hasn't committed to a starter for this week. He'll be made available to reporters after Friday's practice.
Stefanski did confirm that if Watson can't play, backup P.J. Walker will start again. The Browns have gone 2-1 with Walker as their primary QB despite the 28-year-old being turnover prone — five interceptions and a fumble in three games.
NOTES: Starting RT Dawand Jones (shoulder), LT Jedrick Wills Jr. (foot/ankle) and TE David Njoku (ankle) returned after sitting out practice Wednesday. WR Marquise Goodwin (unknown) was not on the field. He had a wrap on his right leg a day earlier. ... Starting CB Greg Newsome II (groin), WR David Bell (knee) and DE Alex Wright (knee) did side work.
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