It's only May, but the injury bug has already bit Cleveland, where Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor is scheduled to undergo an MRI for a possible torn pectoral muscle.
John Telich of Cleveland's WJW-TV first reported the injury Thursday through the player's agent, Peter Schaffer.
A statement released by the team confirmed Taylor "injured his left pectoral (Thursday) lifting weights as part of the club's offseason program. He will be further evaluated on Monday to determine a course of treatment."
"We're awaiting results of the MRI," Schaffer told Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer. "He's staying positive. He's got a great attitude. He'll either be 100 percent or come back 100 percent."
Schaffer told The Associated Press that surgery remains a possibility.
Depending on the prognosis, Taylor's absence represents a deep setback for a young Browns defense that relied heavily on his stout play in the middle of the line during his rookie season. The first-round pick started all 16 games for Cleveland, helping a revamped 4-3 defense hold opponents to 19.2 points per game in 2011, fifth best in the NFL.
Pectoral injuries vary in their severity and how long they keep players off the field. Taylor's teammate, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, missed a large part of the 2009 season and all of 2010 with two torn pectoral muscles. He returned last season and played some of his best football, leading the team in tackles.
If Taylor is ruled out for an extended period of time, rookie defensive tackle John Hughes, who signed a four-year contract Thursday, would likely be pressed into action.
Hold your breath, Cleveland.