Brown's Ankle Injury Not As Severe As Feared

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Browns defensive end Courtney Brown (pictured, right) may not be as hurt as originally feared after spraining his left ankle in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Brown, who missed the first six games of the season with a knee injury, was fitted with a walking boot on Monday and was scheduled for further tests.

Browns coach Butch Davis said Brown would be reevaluated daily and that it was too early to say if Brown would miss Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.

"It may not be as bad as we thought," Davis said.

On the Titans' first offensive series, Brown got bent over backward on a block and had his ankle rolled on by tackle Jason Matthews.

X-rays on Brown's ankle were negative and the second-year end returned to the sideline, but did not go back in Cleveland's 31-15 loss.

"Courtney Brown is the best player on the team. Period. There isn't even a close second," said linebacker Dwayne Rudd. "When he's not in there it effects everyone."

Brown was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2000 by the Browns. He injured his right knee during the preseason and didn't make his debut until Nov. 4 at Chicago. But on just his third play of the season, Brown returned a fumble 25 yards for a TD and finished with three sacks.

The Browns made tackle Gerard Warren their top pick in this year's draft with the idea of teaming him with Brown on the right side of the defensive line.

However, because of Brown's injuries and Warren's suspension following his arrest on gun charges, the pair haven't played much together.

Cleveland's defense suffered another blow a few weeks ago when left defensive end Keith McKenzie broke an ankle and is out for the year.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)