Smith undergoes MRI

5-09-01, 4:50 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

Bengals quarterback Akili Smith underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) Wednesday for the persistent soreness in his throwing shoulder and the club is waiting for the results.

Smith, who has been complaining of tenderness in the back of his right shoulder for about a week, didn't throw during Wednesday's voluntary workout at Paul Brown Stadium.

"I don't think it's serious, but if it's something I need to get fixed, I want to

know now," Smith said. "I think what happened is that I came back from a two-week layoff really throwing hard and hurt it."

Trainer Paul Sparling doubts it is a serious problem and believes Smith is suffering from "overuse." Club officials haven't detected any loss of strength or velocity in Smith's passes even though he says he's been fighting the pain since minicamp started Friday. He took off Sunday's second practice, but worked Monday and Tuesday.

"It doesn't seem to be getting better, so let's find out what's going on," Smith said.

When Smith returned from a two-week break April 30 to resume throwing in preparation for last weekend's minicamp, he was the only quarterback throwing to about a dozen receivers that included wideouts, tight ends and running backs.

"Easy 100 balls a day," Smith said. "It's nobody's fault. I did throw a lot."

A former minor-league catcher, Smith says he has never had pain in the back of his shoulder. He did have pain in the front when he injured his rotator cuff.

"This doesn't feel like the same thing," Smith said.

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