Cleveland Browns center Nick Harris is expected to need season-ending knee surgery after suffering an injury in Friday's 24-13 preseason win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Saturday.
"Nick is certainly a guy who has worked so hard this offseason, so we're really hoping that it's not a season-long thing because the kid has worked so hard," Stefanski said.
Harris was carted off after the injury on just the second play of the game. Ethan Pocic replaced him.
"Ethan went in there and did a really nice job," Stefanski said. "He's been with us since April. We went out and got him for a reason, and we're excited about what he did last night."
Harris had made an impression with a tremendous training camp. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan praised the California native earlier this week, saying he had made strides in his development:
"All the college players have a limited base, and then when they get here, they're blown away at how much they have to do and how much goes on. To see him grow, not only physically—because he's done a great job in the offseason in the weight room—but mentally picking up the system, learning how to communicate calls, hitting players in the right spots.
"What's impressive is his dialogue off the field and the questions that he asks. They're excellent. They're really thought out and meaningful, and they're applicable. I would say his development mentally has really grown more so than his physical development."
The Browns selected Harris in the fifth round of the 2020 draft out of Washington. He appeared in 23 games over the last two seasons, making two starts.
Harris was set to be Cleveland's starting center this year, replacing veteran JC Tretter, who was released by the Browns in March in a move that saved the franchise $8.2 million against the salary cap.
With Harris sidelined, the Browns will likely turn to Pocic. The 27-year-old began his career with the Seattle Seahawks, who selected him in the second round of the 2017 draft.
The Browns could also turn to Dawson Deaton and Brock Hoffman.
Cleveland opens the 2022 campaign Sept. 11 at the Carolina Panthers.