About a year ago, I got into an argument with a fool (not advisable) that claimed that Colt McCoy was vastly more important to the team than Montario Hardesty. My point was that even if Hardesty was completely useless (which he had pretty much been up to that point), a backup RB (that sucks) that rarely saw the field could still be no more useless than a backup QB (that sucks) that never sees the field.
Turns out that Hardesty was and will be pretty key to the team in the Trent Richardson era, since Richardson appears to have a knack for nagging injuries.
The Browns reportedly will be holding Trent out until August to help prevent his lower right leg strain (suffered a couple weeks ago in practice) from evolving into a stress fracture. Just last week, Coach Rob Chudzinski was assuring everyone that the injury was not concerning and that Trent should be back at practice this week. I would assume that privately the injury IS "concerning" to the team, however, since this wouldn't be the first time I've heard the Org claim that the boo-boo was "no biggie" while the player's absence from the field dragged on - a combination that usually means "we ain't telling you the truth since you can't handle the truth".
So Hardesty, who was surprisingly effective last season under an increasing workload, will be taking first team reps for the foreseeable future and - if Trent "injury-prone is not going to be me" Richardson continues to be what he says he ain't - might be far more vital to the team than anyone could've guessed at this time last year.