NFL scouts will have to wait until late March to see Trent Richardson return to the field. (John Bazemore/AP)

Trent Richardson may be a lock as the first running back to be selected in the 2012 NFL draft whether he shows up at the NFL Scouting Combine or not.

But Richardson will be on hand for this week’s events — he just won’t be on the field.

Alabama’s unanimous first team All-American underwent minor knee surgery, which will prevent him from participating in on-field activities at the combine or the Crimson Tide’s pro day on March 7, according to an ESPN report.

According to a report from the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, Richardson will hold a private workout for NFL teams on March 27.

Richardson was injured ahead of the BCS National Championship but went on to rush for 96 yards and the game’s lone touchdown in a 21-0 Alabama victory. The 5-foot-11, 224-pound junior rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns last fall, and is considered a surefire top-10 pick by most draft analysts.

Richardson, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back, will still take part in interviews with team officials as he tries to improve his stock for April’s draft.

More NFL Combine coverage from Washington Post Sports:

NFL Combine gets underway with lineman, tight ends

Vikings open to trading down from No. 3 position

Redskins aim to accentuate last year’s solid draft class with another