Brewer, Williams encouraged

8-21-01, 1:50 a.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

GEORGETOWN, Ky. _ The Bengals got some encouraging news on the injury front Monday when rookie tight end Sean Brewer was able to make some cuts with a minimum amount of pain as he tries to ward off surgery for a sports hernia.

Plus, veteran backup free safety Darryl Williams is walking around without crutches and a cast for his severely sprained ankle and his return has been upgraded to between possibly three and four weeks.

The club should finally be able to solve Brewer's three-week mystery Tuesday afternoon when he visits Dr. Bill Meyers in Philadelphia. Meyers, recommended by the New York Jets, has "guru"

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status for an injury that was once thought to be just a lingering groin pull.

"My spirits are a lot higher," Brewer said Monday after working on the injury. "It feels so much better than it did even just a few days ago.

"I can run straight ahead and I did some planting," Brewer said. "When I plant off my left leg, I had no problems. When I planted off the right, there was a little bit of pain, but nothing like it was a few weeks ago. Every day it's getting better and better."

If Meyers recommends surgery, so will the Bengals. But it will be up to Brewer, who would miss six to eight weeks and be a prime candidate for season-ending injured reserve.

"We'll get some answers tomorrow," Brewer said.

Williams' injury is less mystifying, but no less complicated when trying to figure out his roster spot. With Williams now possibly missing just four more weeks, that means he could be back in time for the regular-season's third game.

The Bengals could still keep Williams as one of nine defensive backs on the final roster cutdown in two weeks and keep him inactive for the first two games.

But trainer Paul Sparling emphasized it's too early for a timeline.

"It looks like less than six weeks, but at least three to four weeks certainly," Sparling said. "But he looks good. He's got a lace-up ankle support and he's full weight bearing."

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