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Montario Hardesty Set to Return Thursday

Montario Hardesty will make his season debut Thursday night when the Cleveland Browns travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in the team’s third preseason game of the year.

Hardesty’s season ended last year, when he tore his ACL against the Chicago Bears in the Browns final preseason game. The former University of Tennessee runningback was drafted by the Cleveland Browns during last year’s NFL Draft. GM Tom Heckart and team President Mike Holmgren traded up into the second round to draft Hardesty, despite Hardesty’s history of knee injuries.

Hardesty was once thought to be a potential starter for the Browns prior to his season-ending ACL injury. However, with the emergence of Peyton Hillis, Hardesty will now have to wait his turn to crack the starting line-up. First year head coach, Pat Shurmur, has been extremely cautious with Hardesty’s surgically repaired knee. After experiencing pain in his knee after practice on August 1st, Shurmur decided to keep Hardesty out of pratice. What was supposed to be a “few days”, turned into two weeks. Hardesty returned to practice on August 15th.

The return of Hardesty is great news for the Browns. One of the Browns (few) free agent signings, Brandon Jackson, injured his toe during Saturday’s 30-28 loss to the Detroit Lions. Head coach Pat Shurmur said after the game that Jackson’s injury appeared to be a turf toe injury. Jackson was having his toe reevaluated Sunday. Last year’s starter, Peyton Hillis, missed Saturday’s game due to a tweaked hamstring, but did return to practice Sunday.

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