Has the Madden curse come back this season?
From the looks of it, it has. Madden '12 cover boy and Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis now has an injury to his left hamstring, which he suffered on only his second run of the game in the first quarter of Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Coach Pat Shurmur does not know how long he will be sidelined.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Hillis went back on the field in the fourth quarter on his own for a couple of plays despite being injured.
On Monday, Hillis underwent an MRI, which revealed the injury. Shurmur did not provide any specifics on Hillis' injury. Shurmur said it's difficult to say whether Hillis will be ready to play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Hillis has struggled with injuries, illness and a lack of playing time this season. He sat out the Sept. 25 win against the Miami Dolphins because of strep throat. Also, he has a total of 60 carries in Cleveland's five games this season, showing signs of a decreasing workload.
He is currently 26th in the NFL in average yards per game, averaging 52.8. Last season, he averaged 73.5 yards rushing per game. This is another sign that Hillis might be wearing down from all the carries he has accumulated since last season.
Because of a miscommunication, Hillis' injury was not reported by the Browns until the second half Sunday, leading to speculation he was being benched by Shurmur. However, Shurmur said he was told in the first quarter by Cleveland's training staff that Hillis could only play in an emergency situation.
Shurmur also said in his Monday news conference that Hillis was not on the trading block. The NFL's trading deadline is Tuesday.
If Hillis is ruled out for Sunday's game against Seattle, or even for a longer period, the Browns (2-3) will have a tough time competing in the AFC North, where, as it stands today, every other team inside has a winning record. The Browns' remaining schedule is no joke either. Besides five more divisional games this season, they play the likes of the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans, back to back, after this Sunday against Seattle.