Brewer may need surgery

8-16-01, 12:50 a.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

GEORGETOWN, Ky. _ The Bengals are faced with the possibility of losing rookie tight end Sean Brewer for up to two months with a sports hernia.

Tests have proved inconclusive for Brewer, who has been sidelined for the past two weeks with a groin injury while the Bengals have worked without him and veteran Marco Battaglia for much of that stretch until Battaglia returned to practice this week.

"If he does have a hernia, we'll recommend

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surgery and that will put him out six to eight weeks," said Bengals trainer Paul Sparling. "It's still not determined. Usually the diagnosis comes through the process of evaluation. A groin strain that fails to respond to normal treatment has to be considered for that."

Jim Lippincott, director of pro/college personnel, said surgery could make Brewer a candidate for season-ending injured reserve. That would throw the Bengals' roster into a bit of a tizzy.

They had been thinking about keeping one fullback and four tight ends because Brewer is considered a good blocker.

But if Brewer does go on IR, would that mean instead of keeping four tight ends and five running backs, they would go with three tight ends and six running backs, two of which would be fullbacks? That's still a long way to be played out as they wait to get conclusive results on Brewer.

INJURY UPDATE: QB Jon Kitna returned from back spasms Wednesday to take about half the snaps with Scott Mitchell. QBs Scott Covington (back) should be back Thursday and Akili Smith (shoulder) on Monday. . .

Out with a virus Wednesday were DEs Vaughn Booker and Jevon Langford and OLBs Adrian Ross and Canute Curtis. . .MLB Brian Simmons (shoulder) was also out.

MEETING OF MINDS:A small bit of controversy was injected into the Bengals' Summer of Love under head coach Dick LeBeau Wednesday.

After the morning session, he immediately called his players into a meeting in the team room, which is about a two-minute walk from the locker room here at Georgetown College.

LeBeau downplayed the 10-minute get-together, saying he was just reminding his players about finishing up their padless bye week strong and letting them know how the arrival of some alumni players would alter the afternoon schedule.

But it also showed powerfully how much of a stamp LeBeau is leaving on this team. Sources in the meeting said LeBeau also made it clear he is the team's sole and supreme disciplinarian.

At least one player showed up late for morning workouts and when there was apparently a brief

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players-only meeting to discuss the matter, Lebeau brought it up.

"He just wanted to make it clear that he would take care of it, that's his job, and not the players," said one source. "There is no question who is the chief, which is a good thing that there is a solid line there."

LeBeau played it close to the vest. Asked if discipline came up at the meeting, he said, "very little of it. . .

"Discipline is always mentioned in all my meetings, and a lot of it has to do with self discipline. That might have come up, too."

LeBeau said he wasn't looking to orchestrate anything when he called the sudden meeting and sent his team scurrying to stow their helmets before heading to the room before taking a shower or eating lunch.

"It was more how the day was structured," LeBeau said. "There wasn't a meeting scheduled for this afternoon, so I created it.

"It was a different schedule this afternoon and I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page," LeBeau said. "This is a unique week and I just wanted us to finish it. It started out with some good work I wanted to finish it up the same way."

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