The Browns are receiving two significant reinforcements precisely when they need them most.
Coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Friday he expects both running back Kareem Hunt (calf) and tackle Jack Conklin (elbow) to be activated off injured reserve and to play in Cleveland's Sunday night game against AFC North leader Baltimore.
Hunt hasn't played since Cleveland's dreadful Week 6 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals, a game in which the running back suffered a calf injury that appeared to be potentially significant. It landed Hunt on IR, but he avoided the worst outcome and has since found a way to recover and likely return in just six weeks to provide what the Browns hope will be a necessary injection of life for their offense.
Without Hunt, Cleveland has won three of its last five games, but has been incredibly inconsistent offensively in a stretch that has also seen the Browns forced to play without running mate Nick Chubb in two separate contests. Hunt's return will bolster Cleveland's ability to pick up yards in both the running and passing game.
Conklin, meanwhile, has not played since Cleveland's Week 8 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns have inserted backup Blake Hance in Conklin's place, getting adequate play out of the Northwestern product (primarily in the run game) but still missing the higher-level contributions from a tackle Cleveland opened its wallet to bring in less than two years ago.
"Getting the boys back together," quarterback Baker Mayfield said Wednesday of the pair's potential return in Week 12. "We're obviously looking forward to it. ... It'll be great. Those are two extremely key pieces in our offense and obviously Kareem is a great playmaker and Jack, his play speaks for itself."
Cleveland begins a two-game, three-week set with the 7-3 Ravens, who lead the Browns by a game and a half in the tightly packed AFC North. The Browns will have to hope for a split or better if they have any hopes of catching Baltimore in the division standings in the season's final seven weeks.