Browns' Richardson to wear padding over rib injury

Browns' Richardson to wear padding over rib injury

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Trent Richardson might think he's Superman. Just in case, the Browns are going to have him wear a flak jacket to guard his ribs.

``He's wearing something that's bullet proof,'' cracked coach Pat Shurmur. ``He told me he thought he already was.''

Richardson will be equipped with protective padding over a rib cartilage injury Sunday when the Browns play the Indianapolis Colts.

Richardson was injured in last week's win over Cincinnati, taking a helmet to the right side in the first quarter. The injury made it difficult for Richardson to breathe, and he was taken out in the third quarter by Shurmur and team doctors before he made it worse.

The first-round draft pick was limited in practice on Thursday, but he's expected to face the Colts (2-3), who gave up 252 rushing yards last week to the New York Jets.

Richardson said the added padding won't change the way he plays.

``My game's not going to be no different,'' he said. ``I'm still going to play physical and play hard-nosed football, smash-mouth football. That's what I was brought up to do, and that's how I know how to play football.''

Shurmur is confident backups Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya will produce if Richardson, who gained 37 yards on 14 carries last week against the Bengals, is limited. Hardesty replaced Richardson last week and ran for 56 yards and scored his first career TD as the Browns got their first win this season and snapped an 11-game losing streak back to last November.

``You've seen us play multiple backs with Montario, and then Chris,'' Shurmur said. ``Trent's our starting running back. Ideally, you would like to see him the highest percentage of the snaps first, second, third down, backed up, going in, short yardage. You would want him to be the main guy and then we'll just get a feel for the flow of the game.

``I trust those other guys behind him to go in there and do what they've got to do.''

Last week was a breakout for Hardesty, who has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons. But the former second-round pick ran with conviction against the Bengals, helping the Browns end a 12-game losing streak inside the AFC North.

``He has a little different pace than Trent does,'' offensive coordinator Brad Childress said. ``He was juiced up pretty good. Whether it's the line decided to get it together at that point in time in conjunction with the guy that was running pretty well through there. It was kind of a perfect storm.''

Receiver Greg Little was sent home with flu-like symptoms Thursday before the Browns practiced inside their field house because of rain. Little has 14 catches for 169 yards and one TD this season, but he has been plagued by dropped passes.

Starting left guard Jason Pinkston also missed practice with an undisclosed illness.


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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!