Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield's ailing left shoulder is expected to require offseason surgery.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Browns believe Mayfield can play through the injury this season before going under the knife.
Rapaport did note that "incurring more damage would make it challenging" for him to make it through the season.
Mayfield has been dealing with a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, an injury he suffered in Week 2 against the Houston Texans while trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception. He continued to play through the injury, wearing a harness to support his shoulder, but he reaggravated it in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Mayfield was ruled out of Cleveland's Week 7 Thursday Night Football matchup against the Denver Broncos. It will be his first missed game since taking over the Browns' starting quarterback role in Week 3 of the 2018 season, ending a run of 51 consecutive starts. The Browns were hopeful that Mayfield would not need season-ending surgery at the time.
Prior to being ruled out, he was optimistic about his chances to continue playing through the injury.
"Only I know how my body feels," Mayfield said Tuesday. "And if anyone questions whether I am hindering the team and going out there injured, that's just not right. It's my decision. I get to say whether I am able to play or not, and that's just how it is."
Mayfield has 1,474 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions through six games. He helped lead Cleveland to its first postseason appearance since 2002 during the 2020 season. The Browns lost in the AFC Divisional Round to the Kansas City Chiefs after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round.
Mayfield's injury is yet another problem for the Cleveland offense. Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are both dealing with calf injuries, with the latter set to miss several weeks after being placed on injured reserve. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been on IR since Week 2 with a knee injury, while fellow wideout Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a shoulder injury in Week 6 against the Cardinals.
With Mayfield unavailable, Cleveland has turned to Case Keenum, who has not started since 2019 with the Washington Football Team.
Keenum has a prior relationship with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, who was the quarterbacks coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 2017 when Keenum threw for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns against seven interceptions.