AFC North: Banged-up Cleveland Browns backfield becoming a concern

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Oct 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Montario Hardesty (20) during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Cleveland won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

It appeared as though the Cleveland Browns had found a solid No. 2 running back in the form of Dion Lewis. The former Pitt Panther had been very impressive through the preseason, and appeared to be the perfect complement to Trent Richardson, whose more of a bruising, power back, while Lewis is your typical scat-back.

But after Lewis suffered a fractured left fibula during the team’s Thursday night game against the Detroit Lions, he will be undergoing surgery on his  leg, and likely miss most of the 2013 NFL season.

This leaves a lot of questions surrounding the Browns backfield, as the hits just keep coming for the Browns, who have now lost Motario Hardesty as well:

"The bad news was that he’ll undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday, and a source told that he’ll miss the first two to three regular-season games. It’s the same knee in which Hardesty tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the final preseason game of 2010 and caused him to miss his entire rookie year."

Hardesty missed most of training camp with a hamstring tendon issue and then dislocated his right thumb in practice on Monday while trying to catch a direct snap from center.

Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer also reported that Hardesty’s roster spot is “in jeopardy” due to his frequent injuries.

So with the oft-injured Trent Richardson left as the only proven Browns back, who will step up to be his backup?