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Browns DE Benard suffers broken hand in motorcycle accident

On the first day back from their bye week, the Cleveland Browns suffered an injury that could have been so much worse.

Defensive end Marcus Benard broke his hand in a motorcycle accident Monday, shortly after the team's practice ended in Cleveland.

Team spokesman Neal Gulkis said Benard is "alert, stable and resting comfortably" at the Cleveland Clinic. Benard will spend the night in the hospital and is scheduled to undergo more tests and evaluation. There is no timetable on his release.

Benard, 26, crashed his motorcycle on Interstate 71 about 90 minutes after the Browns wrapped up their first practice in preparation for Sunday's game at Oakland.

Benard, a backup who has played in all four games this season, likely will miss significant time and might have to go on season-ending injured reserve. But it appears he was lucky to avoid a more serious injury.

Benard is expected to "make a full recovery," his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora.

Police are still investigating Benard's crash. It isn't yet known if any other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Benard initially was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, and he was able to speak on the phone with Browns trainer Joe Sheehan, who joined him at the hospital.

Benard overcame long odds to make it to the NFL. He was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2009, then spent the first nine weeks of the season on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster. In a December game, he sacked Ben Roethlisberger twice as Cleveland upset Pittsburgh.

Last season, Benard led the Browns with 7.5 sacks. In November, he was briefly hospitalized after fainting in the locker room before a practice. Benard underwent tests, which ruled out any heart problems or other major medical conditions. He later said the episode was related to stress caused by the impending birth of his son.

Unfortunately, the Browns have a history with motorcycle accidents during the season. In 2004, tight end Kellen Winslow sustained near-fatal injuries when he crashed his motorcycle while doing tricks in a parking lot near his home.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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