By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com-
Extra Points …
No luck at all: Another day, another body blow to Montario Hardesty.
Coach Rob Chudzinski announced after practice that the running back will have arthroscopic surgery on a knee on Thursday. The coach wouldn’t speculate on what this latest setback does for the roster status of the 2010 second-round draft pick. The likeliest option now is that Hardesty’s last season of his Browns’ contract will be spent on injured reserve.
Hardesty has had ACL surgeries on both knees – the right one at University of Tennessee in 2005 and the left as a rookie with the Browns in 2010. At UT, Hardesty also missed games with an ankle sprain and a stress fracture.
At this camp alone, which Hardesty entered as the No. 2 back, he missed time with a hamstring tendon and, just this week, a dislocated thumb.
“You just have to keep coming back, keep fighting. I think that theme applies everywhere in this game. He’ll make it back,” Chudzinski said.
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who missed consecutive seasons with with torn pectoral muscles, said, “That injury bug is something you can’t control. You just have to stay positive, look at how you can make the situation better. It starts with attitude. Attitude is everything. It’s gonna help the healing process, it’s gonna help him mentally get through it. What I would tell him is keep good people around him to keep motivated and keep a positive outlook.”
Chudzinski said Hardesty’s roster status would be determined later. Hardesty’s injuries at this camp – along with the extra cautious treatment of Trent Richardson – have enabled newcomer Dion Lewis to establish himself as the primary backup.
Why playing is important: Richardson is expected to play a couple series Thursday against Detroit. It will be Richardson’s first preseason appearance of his Browns career. He missed all four games last year after ‘scope knee surgery and the preseason opener against the Rams because of the Browns’ “plan” to preserve him for the regular season.
Don’t tell left tackle Joe Thomas it’s not important for Richardson to play some in the preseason.
“Yeah, I think (it is),” Thomas said. “Obviously, he’s tremendously gifted, but the plays that we run, we need to be in synch with what he’s doing behind us. You can’t plug somebody in there and just expect them to know where the reads are and the cuts and how we’re blocking every play. Having live reps with him back there is going to be tremendously helpful.
“We didn’t have him all last year, and sometimes that made it a little more difficult for both of us because we weren’t on the same page with every play exactly and it wasn’t fluid. No matter how gifted you are, you still need those reps in there with the guys you’re going to be playing with.”
Richardson’s rookie season was complicated by the knee ‘scope in August and then by broken ribs in October, which greatly curtailed his practice reps during the week thereafter. That’s partly why Richardson often bounced off his blockers or missed holes – the timing never was there.
Game stuff: Chudzinski said it’s doubtful that rookie cornerback Leon McFadden (groin) would play in the Detroit game. Also, safety T.J. Ward probably will be held out just to “be smart” in having him healthy for the season opener, the coach said … Offensive tackle Chris Faulk, whose signing as an undrafted rookie was much heralded, had ‘scope surgery two days ago on the knee on which he had ACL surgery last year at LSU. Faulk officially is a project for next year.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
Return to: Grossi Stories Blog