Trent Richardson Injury: Ribs Injury Threatens Rookie's Fantasy Production

Shawn Brubaker@@63brubakerContributor IIOctober 20, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a gain against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Trent Richardson's rookie season is not off to the start he wanted, mired by injury and mediocre production. With ailing ribs the latest in the line of Richardson's maladies, the rookie runner's production looks to take an even more drastic dip this week (via Yahoo! Sports).

On the plus side, Richardson has shown remarkable durability thus far in his career. Despite regularly playing through pain, Richardson has been able to handle a full workload. He has received 12 or more carries in every game this season, so expect nothing different from him this week against the Indianapolis Colts.

What he does with those carries is what is most concerning to fantasy owners, though. If recent history is taken into account, the answer to that question will probably be—not much.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Richardson will be wearing a special, protective padding over his ribs to protect the injury.

This story sounds eerily similar to the Michael Vick saga at the beginning of the season. For those who don't remember, Vick injured his ribs in the preseason and took to wearing a special, protective vest. 

While Vick has remained healthy, his production has taken a serious dive this season. There are no guarantees that his ribs are causing the drop-off in production, but they certainly aren't helping. Vick's passer rating is just 77.7, his lowest as an Eagle, and his 5.0 yards per carry would be his lowest in a complete season in his career.

For one, Vick has struggled to hold onto the football, a malady that could be caused by the beefed up padding around his chest. Further, just watching Vick, one can sense that he feels limited in some way. He doesn't look as fast or decisive, and the ribs are definitely a factor in that.

Richardson will look to accomplish what Vick couldn't: Find success in spite of a serious rib injury. He will be hard pressed to do so, especially considering the Browns were only averaging 83.2 rushing yards per game even before Richardson's injury.

Even against the anemic Colts' run defense, ranked 29th in the league, Richardson will struggle to find the explosion necessary to gash an NFL defense.

Keep in mind, against the Buffalo Bills' league-worst run defense, Richardson managed only 27 yards on 12 carries. Expect similar production this week against the Colts.