Two test positive for swine flu strain
BEREA, Ohio -- Some rest, liquids and medication have the Cleveland Browns feeling a little better.
Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers and linebacker Kamerion Wimbley returned to the team Thursday after being among 12 players -- six of them starters -- who were sent home Wednesday with flu-like symptoms. The other 10 players remain isolated from the team.
Browns coach Eric Mangini said two of the unidentified players have been diagnosed with Influenza A, which is related to the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.
Mangini reported that there have been no new cases of the flu, and that the other ill players have not gotten any worse.
"That's a positive," Mangini said. "As far as a timetable for the rest of the group coming back, I'm not totally sure yet, but we're going to keep being cautious with this to make sure we don't go into the weekend and put the group that hasn't had it in a position where they could get it."
Mangini said the team will continue to take preventive measures to combat the virus spreading further. He scaled back practice Wednesday and canceled meetings so players would get extra rest in advance of Sunday's home game against Green Bay.
The NFL recently implemented roster provisions for teams hit hard by the swine flu. If a team has a minimum of six players with confirmed cases of H1N1, the league will allow the team to use practice squad players in games.
"We're going through the process of talking to the league and documenting different things to see where we are with that," Mangini said. "It's open communication. We want to be sure what we're able to do and not able to do."
Mangini expects most of the affected players to be ready by Sunday. The Browns typically stay in a downtown Cleveland hotel on the night before a game, and Mangini intends to go forward with those plans.
The Browns players still sick are: running back Jerome Harrison; center Alex Mack; cornerback Anthony Madison; safety Brodney Pool; tight end Robert Royal; wide receiver Chansi Stuckey; linebacker Jason Trusnik; defensive end Brian Schaefering; fullback Lawrence Vickers; and defensive end Corey Williams.
Mangini said the team's medical staff has stayed in touch with the sick players who are still away from the facility. The Browns have sent home other employees in high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, to protect their health.
"It's really about trying to be safe and limit it as much as possible," Mangini said.
Mangini began taking Tamiflu on Wednesday to combat the virus. He said he has never experienced anything like the flu outbreak in his coaching career.
"This is new ground for me," he said. "I checked the [coaching] manual, nothing. But like anything else, you've got to adjust. It's a good reminder to the practice squad guys, you don't know when you'll get a chance. We do a lot of work with those guys whether it's post-practice or additional meetings to keep them up to date and ready to assume a role if a role should open up.
"Situations like this are a good reminder of how close you are. Things can change week to week or day to day."
Wimbley said he was feeling much better and thought he would be 100 percent by Sunday. As he spoke to reporters, linebacker David Bowens joked that everyone should keep their distance from Wimbley.
"Man," Bowens said, "I'd stay away from that."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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