Remain calm. All is well.
Browns fans have a preternatural interest to assume the worst. The first reaction I read to this morning's ESPN Cleveland's report that running back Trent Richardson would be out until August was, "Lets go ahead and not count on Richardson playing. Like Ever."
Since then, head coach Rob Chudzinski has said it is his "expectation" that Richardson will be available for the start of training camp (via The Plain Dealer) on July 26:
He's got a (muscle) strain right now and we don't want it to get any worse than a strain...We're just holding him. He could've gone. We're just being real precautionary about it. We don't want the muscle strain to get any worse.
So why all the doom and gloom?
So far, in less than 16 months, Richardson has undergone an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in February of 2012, had a second scope on the same knee last August, a few weeks into training camp, broke some ribs in October against the Cincinnati Bengals, was held out of OTAs in May with a pulled shin muscle and is missing this week's minicamp for "precautionary" reasons.
He also overcame some devastating ankle injuries in his youth, as reported by The Plain Dealer.
Two things can happen to shins, one much much worse than the other. Shin splints come from overuse, typically, or overly rigorous use. Treating them requires mostly rest, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
A stress fracture is a decidedly hairier proposition and can be caused by not treating shin splints correctly. These can take six to eight weeks to heal.
The point is, it's better to have Richardson resting and recovering now than aggravating the injury as we get closer to the opening of the new season, when he'd have to play hurt or, worse, sit out.
However, given that Richardson basically refused to sit out with three broken ribs says all it needs to say about the guy—res ipsa loquitur. But why shouldn't Browns fans worry about Richardson's injury history?
Freaking out about shin splints is a bit reactionary and paranoid.
Broken ribs happen in the violent sport of football, and there is nary any evidence that Trent Richardson's ribcage is any more or less brittle than that of any other player. He had surgery on his knee, and it was cleaned up. His knee hasn't been an issue since and his ankles have likewise stood the test of time.
Still, Richardson and his health will be the subject of much scrutiny during the 2013 season.
The smart money, however, isn't riding on him missing a lot of time on the field. Playing the "woe is me; we're doomed; nothing can ever go right" hand over shin splints is nothing short of silly.
And honestly, between yesterday and today, regarding Richardson's injury, nothing has actually even changed.