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Browns say Richardson could have played -- but he didn't

The SportsXchange

BEREA, Ohio -- Although he insists there is no cause for concern, Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski kept starting running back Trent Richardson out of the preseason game against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.

Chudzinski said Friday that Richardson would have played if it were a regular-season game. He will return to practice this week and might play in the next game, against the Detroit Lions.

Richardson was kicked in the right shin on Aug. 1 and has practiced sparingly since. Richardson wants to play in the preseason, but the Browns are more concerned with preserving him for the season opener against the Dolphins.

Richardson's health is being watched closely because of what he experienced last year. He missed the entire preseason recovering from knee surgery and played 10 games with broken ribs. Richardson said he is prepared to play injured this season if necessary.

Richardson said playing injured is the norm for a running back. But Richardson will always suffer from comparisons that long-time Browns fans can make.

Hall of fame running back Jim Brown never missed a game in nine years with the Browns. He is an adviser with the Browns and often talks with Richardson.

"It all comes from the heart, toughness and being relentless and not wanting to be denied," Richardson said earlier in the week. "As a running back, I know ... Jim Brown will tell you this, we think differently. As long as our legs not broken, we're running. We can be sick with the flu or whatever, or we can be on our last string as far as our shoulders, and we're still going to be playing, no matter what.

"That's something that's ingrained in you. I think it starts from little league football all the way up. To be a great back, that is something you have to have in you at all times."

Richardson rushed for 950 yards last season. He gained 303 yards in his first five games and 547 yards in 10 games while playing with the rib injury.

--The Browns have some injury concerns.

Starting right guard Shaun Lauvao underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle Friday and will miss part of the regular season, Chudzinski said.

Lauvao was injured in practice Monday in a one-on-one blocking drill with nose tackle Phil Taylor. Chudzinski would not speculate when Lauvao will return and he would not be specific about what is wrong, saying only Lauvao's ankle is not broken.

Jason Pinkston will continue as the starting right guard. Next in line is undrafted rookie Aaron Adams.

Lauvao started each game the last two seasons,

In the defensive secondary, starting right cornerback Chris Owens sprained the arch in his foot in a light practice one day before the Browns played the Rams. Chudzinski said Owens did not realize he'd been injured until Thursday morning. On Friday, Chudzinski said Owens will be back at practice this week.

Meanwhile, rookie cornerback Leon McFadden is shut down with a groin injury. McFadden has been getting most of his work backing up Joe Haden on the left side.

--Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.
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