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Browns pleased with QB Watson's progress after shoulder surgery

Deshaun Watson Cleveland Browns Deshaun Watson - The Canadian Press

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — While Deshaun Watson's rehab from right shoulder surgery is on a conservative track, the Cleveland Browns are expecting the quarterback to be ready for their season opener.

“We feel really good about it,” general manager Andrew Berry said Thursday at his annual pre-draft news conference. “I’m not going to make any predictions, just because you just never know. But that’s certainly our expectation.”

Watson suffered a fracture to the glenoid bone in his throwing shoulder and had his second season with Cleveland end after just six starts.

The 28-year-old Watson has played in 12 games since the Browns acquired him in a 2022 trade from Houston and signed him to a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.

Earlier this week, Watson said his recovery is going well. He's following a rehab regimen prescribed by his surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who repaired his glenoid socket and a partially torn labrum on Nov. 21.

Watson, who was in and out of the lineup for several weeks with shoulder issues before an MRI revealed the fracture, said he's been able to throw at full speed but didn't provide many other specifics about his physical limitations.

Berry said Watson threw 40-yard passes this week as the Browns began their voluntary offseason conditioning program.

"He’s in a pretty good spot,” Berry said. “I don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse, but he’s progressing as appropriate. We’re really, really pleased with the work that he’s put in and really pleased with how the shoulder’s responding.

“But we’re still in the middle of a rehab process, so we know that it can take different left and right turns, but we’re pretty optimistic in terms of what we’ve seen so far.”

Watson said a decision about whether he participates in OTAs next month hasn't been made. He also indicated there's a chance he won't play in preseason games.