The 24-year-old has been forced to watch while Pablo Zabaleta has established himself as undoubted first choice in the right-back position during an outstanding season.
Richards said: "It is hard to smile when injured but I am never really jealous of anyone.
"He is a quality player, Zaba. He gives 100 per cent all the time. He has probably been our player of the season so far.
"Zaba is one of my best friends in the team so to see him doing well, I am most happy for him.
"Last time after injury I almost tried to rush back. This time I don't want to rush back.
"I want to take it steady and when I am called upon try to do a job."
Zabaleta and Richards were rotated at right-back throughout last season's campaign, which City ended with the Barclays Premier League title.
Richards has been a frustrated onlooker this time as the crown has slipped to the point where Manchester United have all but reclaimed the title.
The City youth product said: "It has definitely been frustrating, especially when you see United top of the league.
"After last season I thought we would have kicked on and maybe been a bit better, maybe retained it.
"We haven't done that but I think next season we will regroup and hopefully we will get it back."
City trail United by 13 points and are now focusing on securing second place and winning the FA Cup.
Sunday's trip to Tottenham offers an opportunity to strengthen the grip on the runners-up spot while next month's FA Cup final against Wigan will never be far from the mind.
After so long out, Richards has no expectation of when he might be called upon again.
He said: "I think Zaba is going to be back in on Sunday after the way he has been playing but if I am called upon I will give 100 per cent.
"For me it is just getting back, getting some minutes under my belt, just to play 80 minutes tonight was enough for me for now.
"I will just keep training, working hard, trying to get fitter and stronger. Hopefully I will get some more games before the end of the season."