No one paid much attention to it when it happened in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme delivered a pass while running to his left and suddenly pulled up lame. He was not hit. In fact, no Buc was near him at the time.
Team doctors and trainers would call Delhomme's subsequent limp a non-contact injury. But it wasn't bad enough to keep him out of the game. He missed no time and finished the game. Sunday night, however, it apparently got worse because now the veteran QB will undergone an MRI to determine exactly what's going on inside his right ankle.
Best-case scenario would be a mild strain in which case Delhomme will be under center for Sunday's home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Worst-case scenario would be a high ankle sprain, which could keep him out of action for upwards of a month or more. (Practicing medicine without a license here.)
The Browns have enough problems on offense without the possibility of losing their starting quarterback. That would elevate (pun intended) Seneca Wallace to the top spot. The National Football League's littlest quarterback is perfect as a backup wherever he plays. He is not a starter.
The Browns almost certainly have a large number of plays for Wallace, whose forte is his quickness and ability to escape trouble in the pocket. He's a miniature Michael Vick. But if Delhomme can't go, Wallace's presence exacerbates an already dismal situation.
It's bad enough that Delhomme is not on the same page with his receivers here. Problem is they have a tough time getting open long enough for Delhomme to deliver them the ball. One can only imagine how difficult it would be for the 5-9 Wallace.
He can't run the wildcat formation all the time. That requires almost perfect timing with ball-handling. And with their predilection to fumble running from simpler sets, changing up now could prove disastrous. Fun maybe, but disastrous.
The Browns, who could use a break even though we're only 1/16th of the way through the season, had better hope that MRI shows no damage and that Delhomme, as shaky as he is, is able to suit up against the Chiefs. Because if he doesn't, we could see Colt McCoy a lot earlier than Mike Holmgren envisioned.