By Tom Withers
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND — Browns safety Jordan Poyer has been discharged from the hospital after one of his kidneys was lacerated by a vicious hit.
Poyer was taken to Nashville’s Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital by ambulance during Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Browns said the 25-year-old Poyer, in his fourth season with the team, will return to Cleveland.
Poyer was injured on a nasty blindside hit by Titans running back Antonio Andrews while covering a punt in the second quarter. Andrews had an unobstructed run at Poyer before delivering his violent blow, which was penalized.
Browns coach Hue Jackson does not think Andrews’ hit was malicious.
“I think he was trying to do his job, which was block him, and he did,” Jackson said. “He blocked him. He might have led with his head a little bit, but that is what he got flagged for. That is part of this game.”
Andrews received a personal foul and will be fined by the NFL.
Poyer’s serious injury is the latest for the Browns, who have placed 12 players — including quarterback Robert Griffin III — on Injured Reserve this season. The team can bring one player off IR after eight games.
The team said starting left guard Joel Bitonio underwent foot surgery on Monday. The Browns expect Bitonio, who got hurt on the final play of the first half against New England on Oct. 9, to make a full recovery and be ready for the 2017 season. Bitonio is one of Cleveland’s best players and his loss has forced Jackson to again re-shuffle his offensive line.
Also, Browns center Austin Reiter underwent reconstructive left knee surgery Tuesday in Cleveland. Reiter tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Oct. 2 against the Washington Redskins, his former team.
Because of the rash of injuries, the Browns have started three quarterbacks and played five this season. They’ve also had three centers, lost their starting kicker and before the season started, they lost defensive end Desmond Bryant, their sacks leader in 2015, with a chest injury. In addition, wide receiver Josh Gordon entered rehab just days before he was to return from a four-game league drug suspension.