Originally created 05/16/02

Brewer determined to be ready for opening game



COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Ryan Brewer, South Carolina's starting tailback, says he's determined to be ready for the Gamecocks' opening game against New Mexico State after having surgery on his ankle two weeks ago.

"My mind's set. This thing is going to heal," said Brewer, who was on crutches with his left leg in a knee-high cast Wednesday.

He hurt his ankle during a punt return in the second quarter of the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 but kept playing, he said. He reinjured it during a scrimmage April 6.

"I get the cast off every week and they look at it and it all depends on what's happening. Right now I think I have two to three weeks left in the cast," he said.

Brewer says he's been told rehab is four weeks, but he's hoping it's shorter. "As soon as this cast is off, I'll be ready to go."

After staying in bed for a week, he's just trying to get out and do things.

"Things are going better than expected right now. I'm feeling good. I put my leg down and the pain doesn't bother me now," Brewer said.

Brewer has been a clutch performer at South Carolina since he arrived three years as Ohio's Mr. Football. He said he doesn't worry about the possible mental effects from surgery. And he's not concerned about conditioning because he's never been out of shape.

Brewer stepped in for suspended Derek Watson at the 2001 Outback Bowl and was voted the game's most outstanding player with 219 total yards and two touchdowns. He got the call to replace the dismissed Watson last month, listed on the team's post-spring depth chart as the starting tailback.

Brewer had 37 receptions for 352 yards and two touchdowns last season.