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Hardesty's first two seasons defined by injuries

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Posted Dec. 28, 2011 @ 10:57 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Browns have to hope RB Montario Hardesty's third NFL season goes more smoothly than his first two campaigns. Hardesty missed his rookie season with a torn ACL in his left knee, and he has been limited to nine games this season. He has seen work in only one game since suffering a calf pull on Oct. 30, and though active, he did not carry the ball in Weeks 15 or 16. Hardesty has gained just 3.1 yards per carry, with a long run of 19 yards. Leading up to the season finale, head coach Pat Shurmur said Hardesty was "not 100 percent," though he expressed confidence in Hardesty's ability to contribute if called upon. Also, GM Tom Heckert told Browns reporters earlier in December that Hardesty hadn't recaptured the form that convinced the Browns to draft him in the second round in 2010. However, Heckert reportedly said he expected Hardesty to be healthier next season. The '12 season could be a pivotal one for Hardesty. If Peyton Hillis departs, there will be carries for the taking. But Hardesty's health will be key. 

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