Brittle Richardson Hurt Again, May Miss June Mini-Camp
By Steven King
Nothing to worry about?
Or something to worry about?
That’s what the Browns and their fans are asking themselves after second-year RB Trent Richardson missed Thursday’s OTA practice with what is described as a lower leg injury, in the shin area.
Though Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski did not elaborate, Richardson had to have gotten hurt either Tuesday or Wednesday, the only other days the Browns worked this week. He practiced last Thursday, which was the final session of last weel and also last time the media was permitted to view practice before returning today.
Chudzinski said the move was precautionary, but did add that Richardson could also sit out the three-day, full-squad minicamp slated for June 4-6. That will be the Browns’ last on-field work until training camp opens in late July.
The good news is that Richardson’s injury is not to the ribs once again. He played the last nine games of his rookie season in 2012 with two broken ribs.
But the bad news is that he is battling another injury situation.
This could all be just a coincidence, since Richardson did not have a history of injuries at Alabama before the Browns took him at No. 3 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.
It is something to watch, though. The Browns have a lot invested in Richardson, as they worked a draft day trade to move up a spot to take him. Despite the rib injury, he went on to have one of the best seasons ever for a Browns rookie running back, rushing for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns while finishing second on the club with 51 receptions.
Richardson is one of the key pieces as the Browns try to get back on track. They have signed some running backs in recent weeks, including bringing back Brandon Jackson, who has a decent pro resume but was a complete non-enity in the eyes of former head coach Pat Shurmur.
That’s all well and good, but none of those backs can come close to measuring up to Richardson. His ability to be productive both as a receiver as well as a runner makes him a perfect fit to the scheme put together by new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who likes to get the ball to his backs in space so they can make plays.
The Browns can’t afford to be without Richardson this season for any length of time, especially with the fact they need to get off to a good start to shake their losing ways and begin building confidence. As such, it’s good that they’re being careful with him. Missing one of these spring practices where everybody is running around in shorts, with no pads, means nothing. They want him – and need him – to be ready to go full-blast in camp. That’s when the real work begins.
However, the Browns have always never been very forthdoming with information about injuries, so the fear is that they may be hiding something and Richardson’s problem is a lot more serious than they’re making it out to be.
We’ll eventually find out, but not until camp opens and we see how he is. That’s still a long way off.
In the meantime, the fans – and maybe even the Browns as well – are holding their breath. Indeed, this club already has enough issues. It certainly doesn’t need any more.