The fact that Barkevious Mingo was spitting up blood on the Browns' sideline Thursday night during a 24–6 preseason victory over the Lions served as a pretty good indication that the rookie linebacker had suffered a rather severe injury. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, even Mingo, who was diagnosed with a bruised lung, may not have been aware just how serious the situation was:
Had Mingo remained on the field during the game and taken another blow to the chest, he could've died, according to Dr. Clark Fuller, Director of Thoracic Surgery at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Ca., who hasn't treated Mingo. He said Mingo had already torn at least some small blood vessels, "and if you tear some larger ones, the chest cavity is an area where you could bleed to death and nobody ever sees a drop of blood on the ground."
Cabot added that the estimated mortality rate for an injury such as Mingo's is 14 to 40 percent.
"We’re just happy it’s not a career- or season-ending injury," defensive coordinator Ray Horton told Cabot. "But they're all serious when they miss playing time."
San Diego's Eddie Royal also bruised a lung this week, after hitting the ground hard while trying to make a catch in practice on Saturday. Royal received oxygen on the field while an ambulance and multiple fire trucks sped to the Chargers' practice facility to tend to him. He was moved to a local hospital as a precaution.
Like Mingo, Royal appears to have skirted any long-lasting effects from the bruised lung. He did, though, also suffer a concussion, putting his status for the start of the regular season in doubt.
For now, Mingo is expected to be ready in time for the Brown's regular-season opener on Sept. 8 against Miami in Cleveland. His injury actually occurred while he was covering the opening kickoff—he doesn't recall the hit, but says he felt short of breath after the whistle—and the Browns plan to continue using him in that role. Mingo also should get plenty of opportunities to show off his pass-rushing prowess in rotational duty with fellow OLBs Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard.
Cleveland may opt to bring Mingo back slowly, if only because of the severity of his initial injury and the luxury of depth they have at his position. Still, whenever he returns to the field it will be cause for celebration, given how dire the situation could have been.