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.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL