BEREA – Running back Montario Hardesty can’t catch a break.
In only his second snap in team drills since July 31, Hardesty suffered a thumb injury Monday and left practice. He had missed nine of the first 14 practices with hamstring issues.
“It’s a tough deal,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “We will see what the status is and how soon he will be back.”
Chudzinski should have an update today.
Hardesty, whose injury history preceded him to Cleveland, was hit in the right thumb by a direct snap as he leaped to catch it. He quickly sought the attention of trainers, the thumb was heavily wrapped in ice and Hardesty watched drills from the sideline.
After about 20 minutes, he walked into the locker room and didn’t return.
“Right now, I don’t know what his situation is, but to see this guy work hard every day to fight back, to get back and for him to come back, it’s kind of like we’ve got to keep his spirits held high,” starter Trent Richardson said. “We’re praying for him. We’re going to be behind him 100 percent.”
Hardesty is listed as the second running back on the depth chart, but his roster spot was already in jeopardy before the thumb injury. During his time on the sideline, Dion Lewis and Brandon Jackson performed well and earned the praise of the coaches.
Hardesty has been snake-bit by injuries since he joined the Browns as a second-round pick in 2010. He missed all of his rookie season following knee surgery and was limited to 10 games in 2011.
He’s made five starts in 23 games, rushing for 537 yards and a 3.5 average with a touchdown.
Then-general manager Tom Heckert traded two fifth-round picks to move up from the third round to select Hardesty at No. 59.
Richardson said he’s ready, eager and able to make his NFL preseason debut Thursday against the Lions but doesn’t know if he will. Chudzinski will talk to the medical staff about the players coming back from injuries and reveal who will play Wednesday.
“I expect to play each game, so I’m going to leave it into Coach’s hands. Whatever he thinks is best, I’ll leave it up to him,” Richardson said. “I really can’t wait until September. That’s the big story for me. When it comes September, I’ll be ready.”
Richardson was kicked in the shin during camp and missed a couple of days of practice. It’s the same shin that kept him out of minicamp in June. He’s been back for a week but has been limited in team drills.
“I feel good,” he said. “I don’t even know what shin y’all talking about.
“It’s the best (overall) I’ve felt in a long time. I feel ready to go and when Coach gives me that green light, I’ll be ready and I’ll be in there for my team and I’ll be working hard for them.”
RAMS MOVE ON
Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirmed Browns preseason TV analyst Bernie Kosar called to apologize Sunday for his criticism of the Rams during the broadcast last week.
“It’s a dead issue,” Fisher told reporters, declining to elaborate. “It’s all behind us now.”
Kellen Clemens, the No. 3 quarterback for St. Louis, was the most popular target of Kosar.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter,” Kosar said.
Clemens took the high road Monday.
“I’m sure Mr. Kosar regrets what he said,” he said. “After five years in New York, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s not going to affect me or how I perform, and go forward.”
Cornerback Chris Owens (arch), receiver Jordan Norwood (hamstring) and offensive lineman Oniel Cousins (ankle) returned to practice. Owens was the only one to take part in team drills, but was limited to the two-minute period.
** Rookie cornerback Leon McFadden (groin), receiver David Nelson (knee), offensive linemen Ryan Miller (concussion) and Chris Faulk (knee), fullback Brock Bolen (calf) and defensive lineman Hall Davis (hamstring) remained sidelined.
** Inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson got the day off from team drills but is healthy. He spent the time standing next to coordinator Ray Horton behind the defense.
The first-team offense’s two-minute drive was thwarted by a sack when both ends were unblocked. Quarterback Brandon Weeden tried to recover but threw incompletions on third and fourth down with the clock winding down and needing a touchdown.
** Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant watched practice with Browns president Alec Scheiner.
** Former Browns linebacker Scott Fujita will be an analyst on FoxSports1.
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