BEREA, Ohio -- As the days turned to weeks, T.J. Ward held out hope his injured right foot would heal so he could play again this season.
Time ran out for him on Thursday with two games left.
The Cleveland Browns placed their hard-hitting strong safety on season-ending injured reserve with a sprained right foot, an injury coach Pat Shurmur said does not need surgery -- "at this point."
Ward, a second-round draft pick last year, started eight games before getting hurt Nov. 6 against the Houston Texans. Both he and the team had been optimistic that he would get back on the field, and it appeared he might return last week when he did some individual drills. However, with only two games to go and the Browns' depth being thinned by mounting injuries, the team decided to end Ward's 2011 season.
"We were looking at his recovery and games left available," Shurmur said after Thursday's practice in explaining the move. "We had some players that got knocked out of action this past week and it's a move we needed to make."
The team signed wide receiver Rod Windsor from the practice squad to fill Ward's roster spot. With Jordan Norwood out with a concussion, the team needed another wide receiver for Saturday's game in Baltimore.
"He was doing well," said linebacker D'Qwell Jackson of Ward, who sympathizes with his teammate after being out with injuries the past two years. "He's been battling these injuries, man, and it's tough. You don't know when they're coming and you just have to deal with them the best way you know how. You try to do everything preventative as you can and when it happens and it just lingers it's a tough position to be in.
Ward was not available for comment.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press