CLEVELAND (AP) The Browns may have lost one of their defensive leaders.
Veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby sustained a knee injury in the second quarter in Sunday's 23-7 loss to the Houston Texans and could be sidelined for an extensive period.
Dansby, who entered the game leading Cleveland in tackles, was hurt with 7:37 left before halftime on a running play. Dansby pounded the ground in frustration after going down and limped off the field under his own power. He was examined on the sideline before he walked slowly to the locker room for treatment. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.
Browns coach Mike Pettine indicated Dansby's injury could be long term.
''It would be a huge blow because he's the quarterback on the defense and he's been playing outstanding football,'' Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said.
''To lose him would be really devastating. I hope we won't lose him for the season, but certainly we have a lot of injuries on defense that are concerning. We are going to have to have guys step up because that's what the NFL is all about.''
Without Dansby, the Browns struggled to stop the run in the second half and the Texans rolled up 211 yards rushing.
Dansby has had a major impact in his first season with the Browns, who signed the 11-year veteran as a free agent in the offseason. Cleveland is already without massive end Phil Taylor, putting further stress on Cleveland's front seven.
Dansby entered Sunday's game as the team's leader in tackles with 69. He also has three sacks and an interception.
''Karlos is our defensive captain,'' said end Billy Winn, who briefly left with a cramp but returned. ''The guy is one of the most intelligent players I've ever been around.
''He knows how to win. He knows how to handle losing and how to push guys through it and get us back to form. Losing him is a big deal, but we have the guys in the room to step up and carry the flag if he is out. Hopefully that's not the case and we can get him back ASAP.''
Browns linebacker Jabaal Sheard also went out with a foot injury and will be examined Monday.
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