Scott gets clearance

3-16-01, 3:40 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

X-rays that show Darnay Scott's broken left leg has fully healed have increased the odds he'll be ready for the Bengals' May 4-7 mini camp.

After Scott was given clearance for full activities by Dr. Kevin Reilly earlier this week in Cincinnati, trainer Paul Sparling put the odds at 50-50 Scott could participate in the Paul Brown Stadium workouts.

"If he isn't able to go, it won't be as a result of the fracture because it's completely healed," Sparling said of the broken tibia and fibula. "It will be because his performance isn't ready by then. But he'll be working at it."

Reilly's clearance to allow Scott to run comes six weeks

after he was backed off activity following removal of screws in the leg. He'll begin alternating weekly rehabs in Cincinnati and St. Louis on Monday, when he arrives at Sparling's underwater treadmill at PBS.

"We want to gradually get him back into running," Sparling said. "With the water, we can judge how his lower extremities are responding to more weight bearing and see how he tolerates it.

"Water reduces the amount of weight, so we'll start him in shoulder deep water," Sparling said. "Then we'll work down to his chest and knees. Then he should be ready to get on a treadmill or track."

Scott, 28, was coming off the best of his six seasons when he broke his leg near the end of an Aug. 1 practice at training camp and missed all of the 2000 season. He's No. 5 on the Bengals' all-time receiving list with 329 and the Bengals are crossing their fingers he still has the breakaway speed that allowed him to catch one pass of at least 40 yards in 22 of his 93 NFL games.

"We just won't know until he does it," Sparling said. "Everything is there for him to have the opportunity. But we just don't know yet what impact the injury will have on his skills."

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