- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001

CARLISLE, Pa. Washington Redskins quarterback Jeff George will start against the Cleveland Browns tomorrow night after experiencing no shoulder pain following two practices.

George will play the first quarter, barring any further setback from the shoulder tendinitis that limited him to four practices before Tuesday. He threw with increasing velocity during drills yesterday as the team broke training camp at Dickinson College.

Saying it was the "true test" when he awakened without pain following his first workout, George felt coach Marty Schottenheimer's willingness to rest him 10 days was the difference in his recovery.

"I owe everything to him taking a conservative approach and not rushing [me] back," George said. "It feels pretty good."

Schottenheimer remains "cautiously optimistic" about George's recovery after a previous comeback following five days off resulted in sharp pain. However, George threw 30-yarders without any problems and appeared comfortable working with the starters. Although he hasn't yet tested his arm with a deep pass, George's arm strength appears sufficient.

"I don't know if there's any certainty we're over the hump," Schottenheimer said, "but each time we go out and proceed without setbacks is encouraging."

Schottenheimer won't decide the quarterback rotation until tomorrow. Tony Banks will play one quarter after working with 25 percent of the offensive scheme since signing Aug. 16. Rookie Sage Rosenfels is also expected to play; Todd Husak's time is undecided.

Offensive tackle Chris Samuels (sprained back) and running back Stephen Davis (sprained toes) won't play against Cleveland. Davis was already excused to testify in a court case, but Schottenheimer said he wouldn't have played anyway. Neither player practiced this week. Ki-Jana Carter will replace Davis, and guard Matt Campbell will sub for Samuels.

Meanwhile, defensive end Bruce Smith could return to practice next week after getting a second medical opinion on his sprained shoulder. Smith left camp Tuesday to seek an outside opinion, and Schottenheimer said tests were negative. Smith previously said he could miss as much as the first three weeks of the regular season.

Schottenheimer doesn't expect to pursue more veteran free agents after adding three in the past week. Against the Browns, newly signed guard Dave Szott will start, but safety Keith Lyle won't play.

The competition between cornerbacks Darrell Green, Donovan Greer and Fred Smoot could continue into the regular season. Smoot will enter as a reserve against Cleveland after leaving Tuesday to attend an aunt's funeral in Mississippi. Schottenheimer hasn't decided whether Green or Greer will start against the Browns.

"The three of them are like a dead heat," Schottenheimer said.

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