Cleveland Browns running back Montario Hardesty has been limited in practice this week, but the good news is that he was able to practice at all. Hardesty has been out for the last three games with a torn calf muscle, which only adds to the belief that he is a fragile player.
Nevertheless, Hardesty appears ready to return on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals and, if he does, it appears that he will get the start. It comes off as a surprising move for a couple of reasons. For one, Chris Ogbonnaya has performed admirably in the absence of Hardesty and Peyton Hillis. Secondly, if Hardesty remains limited in practice, so as to not aggravate his calf injury, it seems like a risk to immediately give him so many carries right off the bat.
It’s more likely that Hardesty and Ogbonnaya will split the carries, unless the Browns dig themselves into a huge hole. Either way, having Hardesty back and healthy will be a good way to start a tough stretch through the AFC North.
As for Peyton Hillis, though he has been ruled out for Sunday’s game, he has been progressing in the rehabilitation of his hamstring and may participate in practice on Friday.