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Winslow leads Browns' injury woes

Kellen Winslow's hyped rookie season might be over after it barely began _ much like a promising season for the Cleveland Browns.

Courtney Brown is done, too. Another serious injury has ended the former No. 1 overall draft pick's 2004 season and perhaps the defensive end's career as well.

Winslow broke his right leg Sunday and will miss at least two months with the injury, one of six sustained by Cleveland starters in a loss at Dallas.

The roll call of other banged-up Browns: defensive tackle Gerard Warren(pulled chest muscle), cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (broken middle finger), right tackle Ryan Tucker (strained quadriceps) and left guard Paul Zukauskas (strained knee ligament).

And then there's Brown, who tore a ligament in his left foot, ending another comeback.

It could be the final setback for the talented but seemingly fragile Brown, whose determination to keep coming back from injury has inspired his teammates.

Brown has been sidelined by injuries to his knees, ankle, neck and elbow. Now it's his foot.

"He's frustrated," coach Butch Davissaid. "He feels like he let the team down. He apologized. Nobody cares more than Courtney Brown does. He just has some hard luck."

The team said Brown will have surgery today and will need six months to recover. The former Penn State star will be placed on injured reserve for the fourth straight year. He might be joined soon by Winslow.

Davis might choose to end Winslow's first pro season after two games by putting him on IR.

"It is something that we have discussed and at this time the answer is "No,' " Davis said.

CHARGERS: Drew Brees managed to stay in Sunday's game for 12 plays after sustaining a mild concussion, so it figures that he expects to be back as the starting quarterback. "At this point I'm looking great for Sunday," Brees said 24 hours after he was hurt in a 34-28 loss to the Jets. "I feel a lot better than I did (Sunday) after the game and last night. Things are coming back. I should be ready to go by Wednesday." Brees said his headaches were going away, and his sense of humor clearly had returned. Told that his passing numbers improved after he was hurt, he said: "Maybe I should get knocked out more often."

RAVENS: Tight end Todd Heap will miss two to four weeks with a sprained right ankle, the latest in a series of injuries that has forced coach Brian Billick to dig deep in the team's depth chart.

Heap, a two-time Pro Bowl player, led the team in receptions in each of the past two seasons and has a team-high 12 catches this year. The injury occurred Sunday late in the second quarter of the 30-13 victory over Pittsburgh.

"It's huge," Billick said. "He's your No. 1 target, your No. 1 receiver."

STEELERS: Quarterback Tommy Maddoxwill be out at least six weeks with a torn ligament and tendon damage in his right elbow, an injury that at least temporarily makes rookie Ben Roethlisberger the starter.

Maddox was injured while being hit in the third quarter of a 30-13 loss in Baltimore. Coach Bill Cowher initially thought Maddox might need season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery, but team doctors said an operation isn't necessary.

Maddox plans to seek a second opinion from elbow injury specialist Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon in Birmingham, Ala. Unless Andrews' diagnosis differs from those of the team doctors, Maddox will not throw or practice for six weeks but could resume playing sometime in November.

"It's the best-case scenario," Cowher said.

_ TIMES WIRES

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