Browns rookie RB Hardesty sidelined by knee injury

BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns second-round draft pick Montario Hardesty will miss "a couple weeks" after twisting a knee during a pre-camp drill, coach Eric Mangini said Saturday.

Hardesty, who's expected to vie with Jerome Harrison for the Browns' starting running back job, was injured Thursday, but surgery wasn't required, coach Eric Mangini said following the team's first practice of training camp.

"He twisted his knee in drills the other day, so you probably won't see him for a couple weeks," Mangini said of Hardesty. "We're taking it real slow, conservative. We'll see where it is at that point (after rehabilitating it)."

Mangini was asked who would have taken the first snap at running back Saturday had Hardesty been around.

"I think the best way to look at this is there's not really a depth chart; it's a rep chart," he said. "Jerome would have taken some of the snaps and Montario would have taken some of the snaps."

The 59th player taken in the April draft, Hardesty signed a four-year deal this summer and was one of the Browns' bright spots during early workouts. Hardesty had knee and ankle problems while at Tennessee, but Mangini said the latest setback wasn't related to previous injuries.

Harrison, who's entering his sixth NFL season, had three consecutive 100-yard rushing games as the Browns won their last four games to finish 5-11 in 2009.

The only other notable absentee as the Browns went through their paces before a few thousand orange-clad fans was offensive lineman Tony Pashos, who was fighting a cold. The veteran was signed as a free agent.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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