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Browns running back Chubb progressing in rehab for knee injury, hopes to play in '24

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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Nick Chubb has pushed past almost all of the pain. The hardest part is behind him.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since his 2023 season ended in Week 2 with a gruesome knee injury near the goal line in Pittsburgh, Cleveland's star running back said Wednesday that his rehab following surgery is on track and he's looking forward to returning to the field for the Browns.

He's just not sure when that will happen.

“I like where I’m at. I’m where I need to be,” said Chubb, whose knee was blown out when he was hit from the side by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. "I would say that the biggest thing for me is getting better every day.”

The four-time Pro Bowler recently began running at the team's facility to rehab his left knee — the same one he injured in college at Georgia — and has been encouraged by his steady progress.

The Browns restructured Chubb's contract during the offseason, a sign they're confident he'll be able to help them at some point this season. He appreciated the team's unwavering support.

“A blessing,” he said. “They could have just cut me dry and left me hanging, right? But they did a great job. I want to be here in Cleveland. They know that, so we came to a great point.”

Chubb, who has rushed for 6,511 yards in 77 games since being drafted in 2018, acknowledged there were some dark days after he got hurt. He tries not to reflect on that moment against the Steelers.

On a carry inside the 5-yard line, Chubb was taken down by Fitzpatrick's low hit. The 28-year-old Chubb initially tried to get up but realized he was badly hurt.

After being helped onto a cart, Chubb wiped away tears as he was driven to the locker room, the Browns' season seemingly along for the ride.

Time and healing has allowed him to stop dwelling on his misfortune.

“I moved on. It happened so fast anyways,” he said. “It was a blurry two weeks, so I don’t think about it much. I’m just moving forward.”

Chubb doesn't fault Fitzpatrick, who took criticism for a shot some thought was unnecessary.

“I don’t think it’s a dirty hit at all,” said Chubb, adding Fitzpatrick spoke to him as he laid on the field. “I’m not blaming him. It’s part of the game.”

Chubb's injury threatened to derail Cleveland's season. But the Browns rebounded after dedicating it to inarguably the team's most popular player.

Chubb suffered torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments along with damage to the medial capsule and meniscus. He needed two surgeries to repair his knee.

But while the injury was a major setback, Chubb said at no point did he consider that his career might be over.

“It never crossed my mind,” he said. “I been through it before.”

His blend of power and speed separates Chubb from all but the elite NFL runners. There's no guarantee he'll ever be the same player, and even Chubb isn't certain he'll be as dominant as before.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I’ve been through it before, but my whole goal is to get back out there.”

Although there is still uncertainty surrounding Chubb, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski can guarantee one thing.

“He’s working like crazy,” Stefanski said. "I know everybody wants to know, when’s he going to do this? When’s he going to do that? I know this. He's working like crazy and I get to witness it in our building. I get to see him in our meetings. He’s a huge, huge part of our program. He’s a huge part of what we do."

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