8-17-01, 7:45 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
Rookie tight end Sean Brewer will attempt to do some functional rehab work on the side as the Bengals continue to attempt to determine if he needs surgery for a sports hernia that would shelve him for six to eight weeks.
Brewer, the Bengals' third-round pick, underwent another series of inconclusive exams Friday in Cincinnati with Dr. Vic VanGilse. Listed as doubtful for the Aug. 25 pre-season game against Buffalo, Brewer is
trying to come back from a pulled groin that has shelved him for the past two weeks and taken him out of both pre-season games.
"We'll see how he responds when he cuts, runs, jumps and tries to function with it," said Bengals trainer Paul Sparling. "If he tolerates it and he can play, he'll play. If he can't, it would most likely have to be corrected by surgery."
Brewer has indicated he thinks he can play, but Sparling said a sports hernia is rarely discovered in one cut-and-dried exam. He called it a "process of elimination," and the rehab attempt looks to be near the final step of the process.
If he needs surgery, Brewer is a candidate to go on season-ending injured reserve. That would be a huge shakeup for the Bengals' roster because it most likely leaves them with three tight ends instead of four.
That means plans to keep just one fullback and five total running backs could be raised to two and six, respectively. Or, it means they might be able to keep five running backs and go one extra at receiver, defensive line or defensive backs.
"We've got almost two weeks until we have to get to 65 players," said Bengals President Mike Brown. "He could be healthy, too. But there won't be answers for days at any position."