Injury bug bites Browns

With a stretch of divisional games looming, the Browns were dealt a serious blow Tuesday, learning they’ll have to march forward without two of their top defensive playmakers.

The team announced Tuesday starting linebacker Scott Fujita and starting defensive end Emmanuel Stephens have been placed on injured reserve. To combat the losses, the Browns promoted linebacker Benjamin Jacobs and defensive lineman Brian Sanford from their practice squad to their active roster.

Fujita’s loss, while tough to swallow, was not unexpected. Fujita broke his right hand in two places during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals, while Stephens strained his left pectoral muscle, also in the 23-20 loss to Cincinnati.

As the Boston Herald reports, Fujita has been placed on injured reserve for the second year in a row. Fujita, who had 51 tackles in 10 games this season, will have surgery this week.

Stephens, meanwhile, who had 15 tackles this season, was recently named a starter. He supplanted Jayme Mitchell and started the past three games.

The Browns host the Ravens this Sunday at 4:05 p.m.