Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson is tentatively scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery Thursday to remove a "hang nail particle" of loose cartilage that is irritating his left knee, but the rookie is expected to return before the regular-season opener, according to sources.
The small particle, which has caused swelling, will be "cleaned up" by Dr. James Andrews after it was detected in an MRI. Dr. Andrews will do a final evaluation before he is expected to perform the minor surgery.
Technically, Richardson's injury is not considered related to the torn meniscus he suffered in the same knee while playing for Alabama during its BCS national championship victory over LSU. Richardson had arthroscopic surgery for that injury Feb. 3, which caused him to miss some portions of the NFL combine before the draft.
A team source said Richardson could manage the knee without surgery, but a decision to be proactive early in preseason is the prevailing opinion.
Richardson could return for one or two preseason games under normal projections with this specific injury, but it is unknown if that scenario is in the team's plans, a source said.
Another team source described Richardson's scheduled surgery and recovery as a "two-week deal."
The Browns issued a one-sentence statement earlier Wednesday saying that the running back, picked No. 3 overall in April's draft, will see Dr. Andrews on Thursday.
"Trent Richardson is traveling to Pensacola, Fla., where he will have his left knee further evaluated by Dr. James Andrews tomorrow," the statement read.