October 10, 2002 at 6:10 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 4:27 AM
By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Forget Tim Couch's bruised ego, the Cleveland Browns' primary concern is a depleted and damaged secondary.
Safety Robert Griffith has a broken bone in his right shoulder and will be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks, the latest blow to a Browns' defensive backfield that could be missing three starters this Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Griffith initially hurt his shoulder while tackling Tennessee's Eddie George in Week 3, but the 31-year-old played the next two games despite soreness.
Doctors thought he had only sprained his shoulder joint, Griffith said.
However, in the second quarter of Sunday night's loss to Baltimore, Griffith said his shoulder got worse after hitting Jamal Lewis early in the game and making a tackle in the second quarter.
"My whole arm just felt like it had no strength in it," Griffith said Wednesday. "I knew it was going to be a tough game for me. It went numb for a while and I knew then that I wasn't going to be effective and help the team. So I took the pads off."
Griffith said he underwent his third MRI in three weeks on Monday, but nothing unusual was detected. Only after a CAT scan was performed did doctors discover a hairline fracture of the acromion bone in his shoulder.
"They said 4-to-6 weeks so we'll see," said Griffith, who the Browns listed as questionable on Wednesday. "I'm normally a quick healer so I'm doing everything I can possibly do and we'll go from there."
The Browns may also be without safety Devin Bush (groin) and cornerback Corey Fuller (hamstring) for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay. Neither player practiced on Wednesday, and they were listed as questionable on Thursday's injury report.
Bush pulled his groin during the first half of Sunday's game and said it was difficult to run after halftime.
Fuller was inactive last week after getting injured during the Sept. 29 game at Pittsburgh. Fuller said he heard something pop behind his knee.
If both players are sidelined, Earl Little and Lewis Sanders would likely start.
"I don't know yet," Bush said when asked if he could play. "I hope I can."
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)