Trent Richardson to see Dr. Andrews

A few hours after a team source told Tony Grossi that the MRI findings on Richardson’s ailing left knee were “not that big a deal,” head coach Pat Shurmur released a statement that Richardson would “have his knee further evaluated” Dr. James Andrews on Thursday.

This is the same knee that generated some pre-draft worries after Andrews repaired a minor tear to the lateral meniscus days after Richardson’s college season ended. Many of those doubts were quelled by a strong Pro Day performance and faded further after Richardson’s impressive start in Browns’ training camp.

The concern surrounding Richardson’s knee escalated quickly. Browns’ fans must be asking themselves, “What next?”
Photo by Erik Daniel Drost

There are a wide range of potential outcomes after Richardson’s evaluation by Dr. Andrews. It’s still possible that the MRI findings aren’t that worrisome and this visit is a follow-up evaluation for Andrews to re-examine Richardson and correlate his thoughts with the MRI results. It’s not unusual for a player to experience pain and swelling after a meniscus repair and Richardson may just be seeking Andrews’ opinion on how to approach the next couple of weeks in camp.

That would seem to be wishful thinking, however. It’s also possible, if not more likely, that Richardson’s visit is to discuss a new finding on the MRI that could necessitate another arthroscopic procedure. The range of possibilities is wide, but could include scar tissue removal, meniscus removal or meniscus repair, among other procedures.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot reports that she was told by a source that if Richardson requires a procedure on the knee “it’s not expected to keep him out long.”

That would argue against a primary repair of torn meniscal tissue, which is often associated with rehabilitation times of eight weeks or longer. (See this post on knee injuries, including meniscus injuries, for more information.)

Still, though a less involved procedure to remove just a small part of the meniscus would require a shorter recovery period (2-4 weeks), it’s concerning that Richardson will have had two surgeries to remove tissue. It’s possible that he may never have trouble with that knee again – and he was looking fully fit early in camp after his February procedure – but there’s a reasonably high risk of chronic pain and swelling and long-term arthritic conditions after removal of meniscal tissue.

While it’s possible Andrews will recommend rest and a rehabilitation program that will get Richardson back to practice soon, it would appear the most likely outcome of this visit is that Richardson has a scope in the next few days to remove a small fragment of meniscal tissue and misses the rest of the preseason. We’ll find out more in the next 48 hours.

In the meantime, the continually tortured Browns’ fan base is left fearing the worst yet again.

Categories: Injury Updates

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