BEREA, Ohio — Emmanuel Ogbah struggled to keep his balance while pushing back a portable scooter supporting his broken foot.
“I need some practice,” he said, making a tight turn in the locker room.
The Browns need him more.
Cleveland’s best all-around defensive player in recent weeks, Ogbah will undergo season-ending surgery on his right foot and may need up to four months of recovery time — another bad blow for the winless Browns, who don’t have a victory or much luck.
Ogbah broke his foot on a non-contact play in the first half of Sunday’s 19-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ogbah was chasing Jacksonville tight end Marcedes Lewis downfield after a completion when the injury occurred.
“I kind of planted wrong when I tried to chase after the tight end,” Ogbah said Monday. “I heard the pop. I played the next play and then all of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain and I knew something was wrong.”
The 24-year-old Ogbah had two sacks last week in a loss to Detroit and four this season. Paired on the defensive front with top overall pick Myles Garrett, Ogbah was developing into a solid pass rusher and a player the Browns hope to count on for years to come.
“Him and Myles are two great bookends to have,” said Browns offensive guard Joel Bitonio.
“They were both high picks and they both have shown flashes of excellence. He has done a great job. In the last few games, I think you saw that he can be a run stopper, which he has always been pretty good at. His pass rush has been coming along. If they have to double-team Myles, he was going to be free for a few one-on-ones and vice versa. He is definitely a core of this team.”
The Browns selected the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ogbah in the second round in 2016. He had 5½ sacks as a rookie.
His injury is the latest significant one for the Browns, who already lost perennial All-Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas and linebacker Jamie Collins to season-ending injuries.
“Every team deals with injuries,” said Bitonio, who had his previous two seasons ended by foot injuries. “If you look at the Texans, they lost a bunch of guys. We have lost our fair share, as well, but it is part of football. With freak injuries like that, there is nothing you can change or do. I think we have done a good job with the minor things that are able to stop.
“Football is a contact sport. There are going to be breaks and things like that. It is part of the game, an unfortunate part.”