CLEVELAND — Coach Pat Shurmur hopes a month is enough time for rookie running back Trent Richardson to get healthy and make it back into the lineup.
The regular-season opener is Sept. 9 against Philadelphia, and that will likely be the first time Richardson plays in a game for the Browns — if things go well.
He will be examined this morning by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., Richardson’s hometown. After taking a look, Andrews is likely to operate on Richardson’s sore left knee.
“If something needs to be done, it will be done most likely (today),” Shurmur said Wednesday on the field at Cleveland Browns Stadium after Family Night practice.
“I don’t know about how much he’s going to miss, but I do know this, we’re hopeful he’ll be back quickly.”
Richardson had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Feb. 3 to repair a torn meniscus following his junior season at Alabama. Andrews performed the surgery.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the surgery today would be arthroscopic to remove a “hang nail particle” of loose cartilage irritating the knee. Recovery time for such a procedure is usually two-to-four weeks.
Richardson, the No. 3 pick in the draft, returned from the February surgery for his pro day workout in March and wowed scouts. He wore a sleeve on the left leg for some practices during minicamps and OTAs, and Shurmur said the team was monitoring his workload.
But Richardson seemed healthy when training camp started July 25. He practiced without the sleeve and earned praise from Shurmur and teammates.
But the knee was sore Tuesday and he didn’t practice, spending part of the session on the stationary bike. He was sent for an MRI.
“He’s been practicing well. He’s just a little bit sore right now,” Shurmur said Tuesday.
The Browns have yet to open the preseason, but they’ve already been hit by the injury bug. Defensive tackle Phil Taylor is expected to miss about half the season after tearing a pectoral muscle bench pressing in the offseason, and linebacker Chris Gocong tore his Achilles tendon Saturday on a routine play and is out for the year.
New owner Jimmy Haslam was informed of the fans’ angst and asked if he wanted to say something to calm their fears.
“Football’s a tough game and injuries are part of the game,” he said. “And it probably hurts a team like us that’s a little younger, maybe a little less depth.
“But we’re building a good team, we’re doing it for the long run, we’re going to do it the right way. We’re not going to panic and not do the right things to bring a winner to Cleveland over the long period of time.”
Montario Hardesty will start the preseason opener Friday night in Detroit. The second-round pick in 2010 is finally healthy after two years of injuries and has looked quick and explosive in camp.
“I’m going to continue to try to push forward and get better every day,” he said. “As a team we need to go out and get off to a good start for 2012.
“It’s going to be fun going out there and playing against some other guys that aren’t ourselves.”
Brandon Jackson is likely to also see time with the starters, with Chris Ogbonnaya and Adonis Thomas finishing the game.