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Coach challenges more serious diagnosis

BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns running back Lee Suggs has
been cleared by doctors to return to practice this week. However,
there is still some haziness about his medical condition.

Cleveland coach Butch Davis said team doctors gave Suggs the OK
to resume workouts Wednesday as the Browns (1-0) prepare to play at
Dallas this weekend.

"Dramatically better," Davis said when asked about Suggs'
status. "He has made good strides."

Suggs missed Sunday's season opener against Baltimore with a
neck stinger he sustained two weeks ago in practice when he fell
over an offensive lineman during a drill.

On Monday, Davis challenged a recent ESPN report that said the
Browns are being extra cautious with Suggs because he has stenosis,
a narrowing of the spine that causes pressure on the cord and
nerves.

Davis also revealed that Suggs had recently visited a specialist
in New York for a further diagnosis.

When Suggs was leaving Virginia Tech to enter the NFL draft,
there were concerns that he had stenosis, Davis said. However, team
doctors did not think he had the condition when they examined Suggs
at the league combine in Indianapolis.

But after Suggs sustained the stinger Sept. 1, a nerve injury
that causes numbness and tingling in the arms, the Browns sent the
24-year-old to see a specialist the next day for another opinion.

"The doctor came back and said those earlier reports out of
Virginia Tech are totally erroneous, and that he doesn't have it
[stenosis]," Davis said. "He did have the stinger and it did
cause weakness in his shoulder."

Davis added that Suggs has regained strength in his shoulder
but he still needs to improve for doctors to declare him game
ready.

"He has to carry the ball and take a blow on the shoulder and
when the level of strength gets back to enough that he can take a
hit and not fumble and not have a recurring issue, they're going to
turn him loose to play," Davis said.

The stenosis rumors may have contributed to Suggs sliding to the
fourth round of the 2003 draft.

He emerged as the Browns' top back following a solid training
camp. The speedy 6-foot, 210-pound Suggs led the team in rushing
during the preseason and had seemingly beaten out William
Green for the starting job before getting hurt.

With Suggs unable to play against the Ravens, Green gained 65
yards on 22 carries and caught four passes for 27 yards as the
Browns beat Baltimore 20-3 for their first opening-week win since
coming back to the league in 1999.

It was Green's first game since last Oct. 19. He missed the
final eight games after failing the league's substance-abuse
policy.

Also, Davis said Browns defensive tackle Gerard Warren, who
sustained a strained pectoral muscle in the first quarter against
Baltimore and didn't return, is expected to play Sunday.