Weekly lineup

 Wednesday, August 2
Trainer: Could be tough for Scott to recover
 Associated Press

GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- Shaken teammates huddled and prayed as receiver Darnay Scott lay on the field with a broken leg, an ambulance on the way.

Darnay Scott

Three days before their first exhibition game, the Cincinnati Bengals faced another numbing setback.

A team that has known little but misery the past decade has lost its only proven receiver for the season, leaving a huge hole in an inexperienced offense.

"I'm not feeling too good right now," coach Bruce Coslet said Tuesday, pausing for deep breaths between sentences. "This is a shock to our team."

Players slammed their helmets, lowered their heads and gathered in prayer after Scott broke both bones in his lower leg while blocking on a rushing play during practice.

He was taken to Cincinnati for surgery. A rod was inserted next to the tibia, the larger bone in the lower leg. He'll miss this season and could have a difficult time regaining full speed, trainer Paul Sparling said.

Sparling said Wednesday that Scott will remain in the hospital another day or two. He will stay in Cincinnati a couple of weeks before going home to San Diego. Therapy probably will start next week.

"They feel as though they got a good repair," he said. "Now it's up to the body to heal."

Scott, one of the Bengals' fastest players, is most dangerous on deep patterns. "It's going to be a very big challenge for him to come back and perform at the level he needs to," Sparling said.

The injury was a deflating setback to a team already limited by injuries, inexperience and a holdout.

Scott, 28, became the Bengals' leading receiver when they released Carl Pickens just before the start of camp. Scott had 68 catches for 1,022 yards last year, and has 329 receptions for 5,156 yards in six seasons.

Pickens, the Bengals' career leader in receptions and receiving touchdowns, signed with the Tennessee Titans last week.

The team's top five remaining receivers -- rookies Peter Warrick and Ron Dugans, second-year players Craig Yeast and Damon Griffin and fourth-year player James Hundon -- have a total of 43 NFL catches among them.

Second-year quarterback Akili Smith is still learning and running back Corey Dillon is holding out, leaving unproven backups at that position as well. The Bengals were counting on a big year from Scott.

"The team was real shook up after the practice," Smith said. "It brought tears to my eyes because he's a big part of our offense, a real big part. He's one of the best receivers in the league and the No. 1 receiver on our team, so somebody's got to step up and start making some plays. (The receivers) are going to have big shoes to fill."

Scott left the field in an ambulance after players and coaches heard a sickening snap and saw him fall during a morning workout. He was blocking cornerback Robert Bean on a running play when another player got blocked into him, landing on the back of his leg.

"We thought he was just playing around and would get right back up," Hundon said. "But when he laid down and rolled over to his side, we knew it was pretty serious."

Scott had been expected to start on one side with Warrick, a first-round draft pick out of Florida State, on the other. Coslet said Yeast, Griffin and Hundon will compete for Scott's starting spot, with Yeast starting Friday's preseason opener in Buffalo.

Warrick, Scott's roommate, was with him when the trainers told him the leg was broken. "I saw him put his head down and it almost brought tears to my eyes," Warrick said. "I hate to see that happen to anybody.

"He was somebody that I was learning from day in and day out as far as running my routes and coming off the ball. We'll pray for him and hope that everything will work out."

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 Bruce Coslett says that Scott's injury is a big blow for the team.
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 James Hundon expects the Bengals' receivers to pick it up after Darnay Scott's injury.
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