BEREA — Baker Mayfield hadn’t thrown a football since the game-clinching interception Sunday in the 20-13 loss to Pittsburgh.
He had a heavy wrap on the bottom of his right hand and thumb Wednesday during practice.
His ribs were still sore after five sacks by the Steelers and a big hit under the right armpit from linebacker T.J. Watt.
Mayfield fully expected to play Sunday against Cincinnati.
“Mama didn’t raise a wuss,” he said Wednesday afternoon.
Mayfield stood nearby and watched as backup Garrett Gilbert and Eric Dungey of the practice squad threw to the tight ends and running backs during the early portion of practice open to the media. He said after practice he still hadn’t thrown since the loss that dropped the Browns to 5-7 and severely damaged their playoff hopes.
Coach Freddie Kitchens said twice minutes before practice that Mayfield wouldn’t be limited.
“No, he should not be,” Kitchens said.
Mayfield decided to give the bruised hand another day to improve and was listed as limited on the official injury report.
“Just getting better each day,” he said. “We were walkthrough tempo today besides the individual routes that you guys saw. So no need to try and do it today.
“I’ll try and go tomorrow for sure.”
Mayfield said tests have concluded the injury is just a “nice bruise” and dealing with it comes down to pain tolerance. The rehab is limited.
“A couple of hand massages, just your casual everyday hand treatment,” he said.
His teammates trust Mayfield will be ready to go when the bell rings Sunday at 1 p.m.
“It’s Bake, he’s tough, he’s going to fight,” running back Nick Chubb said. “No matter what, he’s going to go out there and lay it on the line every game. That’s one thing that without a doubt no one questions.”
“I know he’s going to do everything he can to be on the field, and I don’t think there’s going to be a disadvantage,” left guard Joel Bitonio said.
Mayfield believes he can live without the normal number of throws during the week if the rest of the preparation is on point from him and his receivers.
“If we communicate on the right depths and where we need to be, then I shouldn’t have a problem,” he said. “It’s all about timing and knowing that we’ve built chemistry and I need to put the ball where we talk about it and they need to have their depth and be there on time.”
Mayfield was hurt at the end of the first half Sunday at Pittsburgh. His throwing hand hit the face mask of linebacker Bud Dupree on his follow-through during a deep incompletion.
Mayfield grabbed the hand and went directly to the sideline. He then ran into the locker room for X-rays, which were negative.
“Yeah, I’d say if Bud Dupree was there just a millisecond earlier it could’ve been pretty bad, but pretty fortunate,” Mayfield said.
Gilbert played the final two snaps of the half. Mayfield returned for the second half, wearing a glove on the right hand. He said the sore hand, numbing medicine and glove didn’t affect his throwing.
He had thrown with a glove before but never in a game.
“So it was a little different, but gotten used to it and thought I played fine,” he said.
He was 8-for-15 in the second half for 98 yards, an interception, fumble and four sacks. He finished 18-for-32 for 196 yards, a touchdown, an interception and a 71.9 passer rating.
He didn’t say whether he would have to wear a glove against the Bengals but prefers going without one.
“Yeah, normal grip to where you feel the ball, feel the touch, feel the spin of it when you release it,” Mayfield said.
The loss to the Steelers left the Browns two games behind Pittsburgh (7-5) and Tennessee (7-5) in the chase for the second AFC wild card spot. The Browns are a game behind Indianapolis (6-6) and Oakland (6-6).
They need to win the final four games and get help.
“We have to realize that no matter what other things are going on on the outside, we have to have that singular focus,” Mayfield said. “If we do want to make the playoffs, we have to buckle down and win each game from here on out. It is just plain and simple. We can’t have any slipups and we have to win.”
The loss lingered.
“It felt better today than it did the past couple of days just because that one hurts,” he said.
Like Mayfield, the Browns will need to play through the pain.