Nick Chubb is nearing his return to the field.
The Browns have designated Chubb to return from injured reserve, the team announced Monday. Chubb has three weeks to return to action following his designation to return, per league rules. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Chubb is expected back at practice this week, and the Browns are hopeful Chubb will be able to play in Cleveland's Week 10 meeting with Houston following the Browns' Week 9 bye.
Chubb suffered an MCL sprain during the early stages of Cleveland's Week 4 win over Dallas when guard Wyatt Teller rolled into the side of Chubb's knee. The running back left the game for further examination and did not return.
At the time of his exit, Chubb was near the top of the league's leaderboard in rushing yards with 335 and four touchdowns. His six rushes of 20-plus yards still lead the league, despite Chubb's absence in the last four weeks.
With Chubb out, the running back duties have largely fallen on the shoulders of Kareem Hunt, who has rushed for 254 yards on 65 attempts (3.91 yards per carry) and caught 10 passes for 71 yards and two scores in Weeks 5-9.
Together, Chubb and Hunt make up the NFL's best backfield. In NFL.com's position power rankings, the duo landed atop the list of best backfields, combining to gain 136 rushing yards over expectation and averaging the second-most rushing yards per game in the league at the time.
Cleveland's offense has suffered without Chubb, as the Browns have been slightly easier to defend without the No. 2 rusher from the 2019 campaign. The Browns have also missed Teller, who was playing at a Pro Bowl level when he suffered a calf injury in Week 5.
As is the case with most quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield is at his best when he's able to first rely on a consistent ground attack. With Chubb likely to return in November, if not on Sunday, Cleveland can at least hope to see an offensive rebound, even with Teller still out of commission.