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Browns' Russell in hospital with possible staph

BEREA, Ohio (Dec. 11, 2006) -- Cleveland Browns safety Brian Russell remained hospitalized with an elbow injury, a likely recurrence of a skin staph infection that team doctors believed they had under control.

Russell has been in the Cleveland Clinic since Thursday, when the Browns sent him home after he traveled with the team for a game in Pittsburgh.

Coach Romeo Crennel said the 28-year-old Russell, who was hospitalized in late August with staph, underwent a procedure to reduce swelling in his elbow. Crennel said doctors were still awaiting results of cultures.

A few days after an Aug. 26 exhibition game at Buffalo, Russell's elbow became infected with staph -- a bacteria that typically enters the body through scratches and scrapes. He had surgery to clean out the infection, but his long incision was reopened during a Nov. 19 game against the Steelers.

Russell is one of five Browns players known to have suffered from staph infections in the past three years. Since getting sick during the preseason, Russell had been wearing long sleeves to reduce his chances of getting cut or scratched.

In an interview with the Associated Press last month, Russell credited Cleveland's medical staff for recognizing his infection and getting him quick treatment.

Staph infections have become more prominent in recent years among athletes who share towels, whirlpools and common areas like locker rooms. Once inside the body, staph can cause blood and joint infections, and pneumonia. In some cases it can be fatal.

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