Hawkins to miss rest of May

5-22-02, 5:15 a.m. 5-22-02, 4:15 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals starting right cornerback Artrell Hawkins injured the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his knee Wednesday, but should be ready for the start of training camp.

Hawkins, fresh off his best season and a new three-year deal in the $5 million range, injured the knee in a voluntary workout when he fell on it after diving to bat away a pass.

After a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) revealed a "high-grade," injury to the PCL, Hawkins was examined by Dr. Angelo Colosimo and no surgery was advised.

"Traditionally, the PCLs are treated withoutb surgery and Angelo thought it was best to treat this case conservatively," said trainer Paul Sparling. "He'll get it better with rehab and that takes six to eight weeks, so he should be ready for training camp."

The Bengals' first practice at Georgetown College is nine weeks away on July 26. It's the second time in a week a Bengals defensive back has dodged a bullet after hitting the ground while making a play on the ball. Strong safety Cory Hall returned Wednesday after he bruised his shoulder making an interception last week.

JACKSON STILL LEARNING: It is the spring of left tackle John Jackson's autumn. Yet after 14 seasons, 203 games, and 37 years, he is still learning.

"If you're not learning," Jackson said after Tuesday's practice, "it's time to go."

It is generally assumed that this will be the last season for Jackson, the esteemed Cincinnati prep product who started 13 post-season games in the last decade and has been on the field for his hometown team's biggest moments in this one. How soon it will end with the drafting of left tackle Levi Jones in the first round is a question, but if he is going to stick on the roster he'll have to be a swingman.

That is why during this month of voluntary workouts, Jackson is seeing his most time at right tackle since his days at Eastern Kentucky. Jamain Stephens, who has backed up right tackle Willie Anderson the past three seasons, is working at guard this month and that has opened up Jackson running with the second team. With Anderson resting some ailments Tuesday, he went with the first team.

Left tackle Richmond Webb returned from a week absence Tuesday (family illness) to work with the first team while splitting the snaps with Jones.

"The one thing about May is," said offensive line coach Paul ...More...

AUDIBLES AND CHECKS: No, safeties coach Darren Perry didn't plan to take Lamont Thompson straight from the airport to the classroom Tuesday night with the second-rounder due in at 9:30 p.m. But he does plan to spend part of the weekend studying with Thompson after the rookie free safety missed three minicamp days and three voluntary practices because of a dispute over injury protection.

The big question at Wednesday's practice won't be what Thompson does, but what he doesn't do because agent Mike Sullivan has advised him "not to risk injury," which probably means no team stuff and probably no agility work, but the Bengals would no doubt like to get him in some ball drills.

The coaches for the Giants put big-time heat on a rookie who tried to go limited at minicamp, but LeBeau isn't looking to press the thing on the field.

"I'm not going to say it, but I'm not going to keep him from doing it if he wants to, either," LeBeau said. "It would be better if he was on the field and in the meetings, but just having him here is better by a longshot. He can watch the defense being run both out there and on the video." . . .

Tight end Sean Brewer had his helmet back on and wore No. 88 for the first time since

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