Cleveland Browns Smart To Be Patient With Trent Richardson

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IAugust 9, 2012

BEREA, OH - MAY 12: Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns during the second day of minicamp at Cleveland Browns training facility on May 12, 2012 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the Cleveland Browns are proactively fixing a "hang nail particle" in the knee of the 2012 first-round pick Trent Richardson with a Thursday appointment with world-renowned sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews scheduled to clean up the issue. 

While Richardson could have battled through the discomfort and swelling, both Richardson and the Browns are doing the right thing by having the surgery now. Patience will be required as he heals from the clean up, but it's better for the issue to be fixed now than have it linger and potentially become a bigger problem down the road. 

Still, one could understand the Browns having some hesitation to OK the surgery.

The team took a small roll of the dice in April when it traded up to No. 3 overall to get Richardson. Despite being the consensus No. 1 back in the class, the general feeling surrounding the draft process has wavered away from taking running backs that high in any draft. 

Four months later, the Browns will now have to shelve their investment for most of the preseason. According to Mortensen, the team has told him the minor surgery has a two-week recovery schedule. Whether or not the Browns abide by that projection is unknown, although you would have to assume Cleveland is taking every precaution necessary in this situation. 

Sitting Richardson out for the entire preseason, with a schedule of having him 100 percent for Week 1 of the regular season, seems like rational thinking. There's no need to rush.

Richardson also has a history of knee problems that likely pushed Cleveland even more towards having the procedure done now. 

While on the same knee, Richardson's surgery doesn't not appear to be related to the torn meniscus he suffered in Alabama's BCS championship game win over LSU last January. 

From Mortensen:

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 second arthroscopic procedure is a worrying sign, especially considering Richardson has yet to take a snap in a live-action NFL game. 

But if there was ever going to be a time now for Richardson to get the knee cleaned up, it's probably now.

Losing the preseason will damage Richardson's ability to play three downs—pass protection is a learned skill at the NFL level—but he'll still be the same runner with or without the exhibition looks. 

When push comes to shove, having a healthy Richardson in Week 1 beats having him get preseason snaps on a swollen, irritated knee. 

It's not the ideal scenario for the No. 3 overall pick in the draft—especially one the Browns' offense will count on so heavily—but both Richardson and the Cleveland staff did the right thing by doing the surgery now. Patience now should pay off later.