The latest update on Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson's leg injury comes courtesy of ESPN Radio in Cleveland, which is reporting that he will be out until August. A source "very close to Richardson" told the website that there's a concern that the lower leg strain could turn into a stress fracture.
ESPN Radio in Cleveland doesn't specify when Richardson is expected to return in August, which is crucial in gauging the importance of the report. If Richardson is projected to come back in early August, he would only miss a week or two of the start of training camp. That would not really be breaking news considering Richardson was expected to miss this week's mandatory minicamp, which is the last on-field work until training camp.
But, if Richardson is out until the middle or end of August, then there's a much bigger problem. Under that timeframe, there would be increased questions about Richardson's availability or impact for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Miami Dolphins. In the big picture, that's the bottom line with any injury in the offseason or training camp.
Browns officials said they've been sitting out Richardson for these offseason camps as a precaution.
"We are being conservative with him," coach Rob Chudzinski said last week. ”This is just something that we are working through and he will be fine.”
Another question is what shape will Richardson be in when he gets back on the field in training camp. According to ESPN Radio in Cleveland, Richardson hasn't been able to participate fully in the Browns' weightlifting program because he's also taking medication for migraines. This has caused him to lose weight over the past two weeks.
So, I'm holding off on pushing the panic button with Richardson. Until there are more details, it's hard to know whether this is a relatively minor setback or a sign of a bigger one.
*UPDATE: Chudzinski was asked later Tuesday whether he expected Richardson to be ready for the start of training camp on July 26. “Yes, that’s my expectation,” Chudzinski told reporters, via the Akron Beacon Journal. He then added, “We’re just holding him [out this week]. He could’ve went these next couple days if necessary. But we’re just being real precautionary about it. We don’t want the muscle strain to get any worse.”