Heckert knew Hardesty was risky selection

Published 4:00 am Monday, September 6, 2010

CLEVELAND — The Browns understood that drafting Montario Hardesty was risky. Now they know how risky.

Cleveland general manager Tom Heckert said the team was comfortable with its medical reports and evaluations of Hardesty, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in the Browns’ final exhibition game on Thursday and is out for the season.

Making his pro debut after missing training camp with a bone bruise in his right knee, Hardesty tore his ACL while making a cut on a routine 2-yard run. Hardesty tore his right ACL in 2005 and needed surgery during his freshman season at Tennessee.

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He slid into the second round — the Browns traded three picks to select him at No. 59 overall — partly because of his knee issues.

Heckert said the club was confident in its pre-draft medical evaluations of Hardesty, who gained 25 yards on seven carries with a touchdown before getting hurt.

“We spent a lot of time with our doctors and felt comfortable (drafting him),” Heckert said on a teleconference on Monday. “It’s a blow.”

Heckert said doctors believe Hardesty will make a full recovery after he has surgery, which has not yet been scheduled.

“We’re comfortable he’s going to come back and be fine,” he said.

Heckert would not comment on whether Hardesty underwent microfracture surgery on his knee in 2006.

“I don’t want to get into that,” he said, when the subject was raised. “I’m not real sure. I can’t answer that.”

Heckert said he had no regrets about Hardesty playing in Cleveland’s last preseason game. He talked it over with coach Eric Mangini and president Mike Holmgren and all felt it was time to see Hardesty play after he was cleared by the team’s medical staff.