Rookie needs up to 5 months to recover

Originally Published: September 30, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Cleveland Browns: Rookie tight end Kellen Winslow II, out for the season with a broken right leg, was placed on the Browns' crowded injured reserve list Thursday.

Kellen Winslow II
Winslow

Winslow is expected to need four to five months to recover after undergoing a second operation to repair ligament damage in his leg. He is expected to be 100 percent for the start of training camp next July.

The first-round draft pick is the fifth significant player to go on IR this season, joining defensive end Courtney Brown, linebackers Brant Boyer and Ben Taylor and offensive lineman Chad Beasley.

The Browns signed rookie offensive lineman Bo Lacy to take Winslow's roster spot.

Lacy, drafted by Pittsburgh in the sixth round, had been on the Steelers' practice squad. He was a two-year starter at left tackle for Arkansas.

Minnesota Vikings: The NFL will hear running back Onterrio Smith's appeal of a pending four-game suspension next week.

Smith, who leads the Vikings in rushing and in yards receiving, faces a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The appeal hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, said Doug Hendrickson, his agent.

That means there's a chance Smith can play in Minnesota's next game at Houston on Oct. 10, though that's not a guarantee since a decision could come only a day or two after the hearing. Or it could take a week or two, allowing Smith to continue suiting up well into October.

If he is suspended, the Vikings will still have Michael Bennett, their No. 1 back, who is expected back after missing the first three games with a sprained knee.

"We're hopeful that it'll be overturned, but we'll just have to wait and see," Hendrickson said.

New York Giants: Safety Shaun Williams will be sidelined the rest of the season after surgery on his left knee on Thursday.

Williams was hurt in practice last Friday, when he intercepted a pass and landed awkwardly.

Williams had 11 tackles, two passes defensed and a forced fumble in two games this season.

This is the second consecutive year the season has ended early for Williams, the team's first-round pick in 1998. He injured a knee against Philadelphia last Nov. 16 and missed the final six games.

The Giants' starting free safety last season, Omar Stoutmire, is allso out for the season with a knee injury. Veteran Brent Alexander is starting at free safety and rookie Gibril Wilson has replaced Williams.

San Diego Chargers: The game between the Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers will be blacked out on local TV on Sunday because more than 12,500 tickets were unsold at Thursday's deadline.

This is the second straight Chargers home game to be blacked out.

Kansas City Chiefs: Dante Hall, Kansas City's All-Pro kick returner, could only stand on the sideline at practice on Thursday, icing his painfully infected lower lip.

He needed stitches after being injured early in Sunday's 24-21 loss to Houston that dropped the Chiefs to 0-3.

"His lip was infected, pretty well puffed up,'' coach Dick Vermeil said. "It hurt to even jog, bouncing that lip.''

Vermeil said Hall was taking antibiotics and would probably be ready for Monday night's game at Baltimore, where Kansas City won 17-10 last year with the help of a 97-yard kickoff return by Hall.

Not once in a coaching career that began in 1959 has Vermeil ever had a player miss time with an infected lip.

"We always talk about, 'Do something for the first time,''' said Vermeil. "That's it.''

There was also good news on the injury front for the Chiefs as defensive end Vonnie Holliday and cornerback William Bartee both practiced at full speed and expect to be ready.

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