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Report: Trent Richardson out for Browns until August

The Cleveland Browns are taking extra precautions with Trent Richardson.

We knew the running back likely would miss the Browns' entire offseason program because of a strained muscle in his shin, and Richardson once again was absent as the team began its mandatory minicamp Tuesday.

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The latest estimate is that Richardson will be out until August, ESPNCleveland.com reported. A source very close to Richardson told ESPNCleveland.com's Will Burge that the team is being "ultra-cautious" due to concern that the injury could develop into a stress fracture. The source even invoked the name of Louisville men's basketball player Kevin Ware, who suffered a gruesome compound fracture on a routine play during the NCAA Tournament, as the worst-case scenario.

In addition to the strained muscle, Richardson has lost 10 pounds because of a combination of medication for migraines and an inability to fully participate in the Browns' weightlifting program.

In response to the report, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski told reporters Tuesday that he still expects Richardson to be ready for the start of training camp.

"We are just holding him," Chudzinski said. "He could have gone these next couple days if necessary, but we are just being real precautionary about it. We don't want the muscle strain to get any worse."

According to The Plain Dealer, Richardson suffered the injury when a teammate stepped on his shin in practice two weeks ago. How that happened without contact in organized team activities is a good question. Barring a collision, players shouldn't be spending time on the ground.

Richardson and Chudzinski both have downplayed the injury. The Browns are smart to take the slow track with their offensive foundation considering Richardson already had two knee surgeries and fractured ribs in the past 16 months.

The Browns believe in Richardson's talent. They just don't know how high his ceiling is because they haven't seen him fully healthy yet. Hopefully that will change by September.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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