(AP) Brian Hoyer, the hometown quarterback who sparked his Cleveland Browns to two straight wins, will miss the rest of the season with a torn right knee ligament.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said an MRI taken Friday showed that Hoyer tore the anterior cruciate ligament. He will undergo surgery, ending his feel-good story after just three starts.
Hoyer began the year as Cleveland's No. 3 quarterback. With Brandon Weeden out with a sprained thumb, Hoyer made just his second NFL start in Week 3 and led the Browns (3-2) to victories over Minnesota and Cincinnati, throwing winning touchdown passes in the fourth quarter of both wins.
Hoyer was injured at the end of a scramble in the first quarter of Thursday night's 37-24 win over Buffalo.
"This is disappointing," Chudzinski said on a conference call. "It's an unfortunate thing."
Chudzinski said there was no other damage in Hoyer's knee and the 27-year-old QB is expected to make a full recovery.
Hoyer's knee was bent awkwardly when he slid on an 11-yard run and was hit from the side by Bills rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso, who drilled the QB as he tried to get down. Chudzinski said Hoyer's cleat got caught underneath him during the slide and before the impact from Alonso.
"It's hard on him," said Chudzinski, who spoke to Hoyer after the medical results confirmed the ACL tear. "But he's going to make it back and he's the type of guy who has overcome so many obstacles. He's such a positive guy and he's the kind of guy you don't doubt."
Hoyer waited five seasons for a chance to start, and he quickly became a fan favorite because he's from Cleveland and grew up rooting for the Browns. His family had season tickets and he and his dad attended many games in old Cleveland Stadium.
With Hoyer out, Weeden has his starting job back.
Weeden replaced Hoyer against the Bills, and following a slow start, rallied the Browns to their third straight win. Weeden threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon in the third quarter and finished 13 of 24 for 197 yards.
"It was a gutsy performance," Chudzinski said of Weeden's relief outing. "It wasn't always pretty, but he got the job done. He managed the game. There were some ups and downs, but he was resilient and was able to make some big plays."
Chudzinski said defensive end Desmond Bryant was "fine" after being taken to the Cleveland Clinic with shortness of breath. Chudzinski expects Bryant to play next week against Detroit.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org