It is highly unlikely that Cleveland Browns' rookie running back Trent Richardson (ankle) will suit up and play in Week 17 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to one particularly emphatic team beat reporter.
The chances that Cleveland Browns' rookie running back Trent Richardson will suit up and play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 were emphatically set at "zero," by Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland during a Twitter Q&A on Friday morning. Richardson (ankle) was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but head coach Pat Shurmur has not officially ruled his starting running back out for the game. Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson would be the next men in line at running back if Richardson cannot play.
The No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft has struggled with various injuries this year, and he still needs 50 yards to break the 1,000-yard mark in his rookie season. Richardson has rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 carries (3.6 yards-per-carry average) and he has caught 51 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown through 15 games.
The Browns are currently in a position to own the No. 7 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and with the franchise looking to next season there is no good reason to get Richardson on the field if it puts him at any risk to further injure his ankle.
The Steelers host the Browns on Sunday in Week 17 (1 p.m. ET kickoff, CBS).