Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - The highly anticipated debut of running back Trent Richardson has been put on hold.
Richardson underwent minor arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday to remove a small piece of cartilage which was causing swelling and irritation.
The No. 3 overall pick in April’s draft is expected to be sidelined 2-3 weeks but should be ready for the season opener against Philadelphia Sept. 9.
“We anticipate that Trent will make a speedy recovery, and we are hopeful that he will be ready for our Week One game against Philadelphia,” coach Pat Shurmnur said in a statement released by the team Thursday afternoon.
For now, the Browns have to move forward sans their young bulldozing back following what Shurmur called a “”routine arthroscopic” surgery.
Montario Hardesty, who has battled injuries since being drafted in 2010, will start against the Lions Friday night in Detroit for the preseason opener.
“Every day I just want to continue to get better,” Hardesty said. “So I feel like Friday’s another opportunity for me to get better and for our team to get better and for me to show it in front of a lot of people.”
Hardesty has looked lean, mean and quick so far in camp but health continues to be a question for him.
“I just have to keep playing the way I’ve been playing,” Hardesty said. “I put a lot of work into this season. I’m a competitor, I love this game and I’m going to try to take the opportunity and run with it.”
He will get that opportunity now starting with the preseason opener with the Lions.
“I’m definitely excited,” Hardesty said. “I’m playing for a living. I put a lot of hard work in and I finally had a chance to get back healthy.”
Brandon Jackson, Chris Ogbonnaya and undrafted rookie Adonis Thomas will also see increased playing time during the preseason as well with Richardson unavailable.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden understands the disappointment of not having No. 33 in the backfield Friday night in Detroit.
“I think more than anything, just the anticipation — everybody’s so excited to see him play,” Weeden said. “But we’ve got a stable of really good running backs. And I think that helps as far as the development of this offense. Obviously, he’s going to be a great player, I’m not taking anything away from Trent. But I think he’ll be back soon and I think we’ve got other guys who can step in and pick up right where he left off.”
Richardson sat out practice Tuesday with soreness before going for an MRI. He left for Florida Wednesday before seeing Dr. Andrews Thursday morning.
“We’re bummed about any player missing, but we’ve got to move on,” returner Josh Cribbs said. “It’s a ship. We can’t stop for one guy. He wouldn’t want us to stop. We’re just playing our game. It’s the beginning of the season, we’ve got a long way to go.”
Injuries are a part of football but the Browns have been hit with 3 key ones before the first preseason game.
Linebacker Chris Gocong was lost for the year after he tore his Achilles on Aug. 4. Defensive tackle Phil Taylor is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle sustained in May. He’s due back mid season at the earliest.
“It’s a violent game, there’s a lot of things that can happen,” 5-time pro bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said. “And every year there’s different guys that are going to have to step up and put the big boy pants on and get ready to play. This season isn’t going to be any different.
“You’re never going to start and finish the season and finish the season with the same 22 starters. So the guy who’s number two has always got to be ready to step up. And he’s got to be ready to play and play well.”
And now Richardson is out – likely for the entire preseason.
“That’s the fun thing about football, there’s other guys that can step up and pick up where Trent won’t be here,” Weeden said. “We need other guys to step up and make those plays. That’s just the way this game works, and as physical a game it is, it’s part of it, unfortunately.”