BEREA, Ohio — Trent Richardson’s ailing left knee may be more seriously injured than the Cleveland Browns thought.
ESPN reported Wednesday the running back is tentatively scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery Thursday to remove a “hang nail particle” of loose cartilage that is irritating his left knee.
ESPN reported Richardson is expected to return before the regular-season opener, according to sources.
The team issued a one-sentence statement Wednesday saying that the rookie running back, picked No. 3 overall in April’s draft, will see a specialist on Thursday. The statement says: “Trent Richardson is traveling to Pensacola, Fla., where he will have his left knee further evaluated by Dr. James Andrews tomorrow.”
Richardson, who played at Alabama, had an MRI in Cleveland on Tuesday. Results have not been revealed. He is going to see Andrews for a second opinion. Andrews has been Richardson’s surgeon since the running back was a high school star. He performed the surgery to repair a torn meniscus in February. In most cases after such an operation, swelling in the knee is not uncommon and Richardson wore a protective sleeve on the leg during organized team activities and mini-camps in May and June. The Feb. 3 surgery caused him to miss some portions of the NFL combine before the draft.
Nevertheless, Cleveland (No. 30 in the AP Pro32) traded up to select Richardson, who helped the Crimson Tide win a national championship last season. The Browns signed him to a four-year, $20.5 million contract.
Richardson had impressed coaches in camp but he missed practice Tuesday.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999 as an expansion team, the Browns have had more than their share of misfortune with first-round picks.
Quarterback Tim Couch, picked No. 1 overall in 1999, was battered and bruised in three lackluster seasons. Injuries to his hand and throwing arm contributed to his demise.
Defensive end Courtney Brown, the No. 2 choice overall in 2000, never got into a groove because of a series of leg injuries. Then came running back William Green, who was in scrapes with the law and was stabbed by his fiance. A few years later, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., missed an entire season after a motorcycle crash.
Last year’s top choice, defensive lineman Phil Taylor, is currently recovering from surgery for a torn pectoral muscle and won’t be available until midseason.
The Browns open their preseason at Detroit on Friday.