Richardson wants to play preseason opener

BEREA, Ohio -- If it was up to Trent Richardson, there would be no question about his availability for Thursday's preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams.

"I’ll be able to play," said Richardson, who has missed the past two practices after re-injuring his shin. "Whether I am or not, it’s out of my control. But I want to play."

Richardson missed part of offseason workouts in May and the team's entire three-day mandatory minicamp in June with a strained muscle in his right shin. The No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 draft then got kicked in the same shin and sat out practices Friday and Saturday.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said Saturday that he wants to work Richardson on Monday before deciding whether he'll play in the preseason opener.

"I haven’t heard anything that I wasn’t (playing)," Richardson said. "For all I know, I’m playing Thursday and can’t wait to go."

Richardson missed all of the preseason games last season after having his knee scoped. He struggled in the 2012 season opener, 39 yards rushing on 19 carries (2.1-yard average), before gaining 109 yards and one touchdown in Week 2.

"I think it’s more of a mind thing," Richardson said of the preseason. "Preseason is very important as far as getting the speed down and the conditioning for games. You can practice all you want but you can never get game conditions down until you play in a game."