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Foot injury likely to sideline Dolphins' Brown vs. Panthers

DAVIE, Fla. -- Ronnie Brown stuck his head through the entrance of the Miami Dolphins dressing room Monday, tossed a pair of shoes toward his locker and disappeared.

His arm is fine. His foot, not so good.

The Dolphins' leading rusher and wildcat triggerman remained on crutches 24 hours after hurting his right foot during the Dolphins' 25-23 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. He's unlikely to play Thursday at Charlotte and could be sidelined much longer.

"I can only tell you I'm still in the middle of gathering information," coach Tony Sparano said. "We've got to prepare for all the scenarios."

The most likely scenario is that Brown will be replaced in the starting lineup in Charlotte by Ricky Williams, who came off the bench against the Buccaneers for his first 100-yard rushing game this season.

The Dolphins initially said Brown hurt his ankle but listed the injury Monday as being to his foot. Either way it's a big loss - Brown is the Dolphins' leading rusher with 648 yards and eight touchdowns, and he takes the snap on most of the team's wildcat plays.

However, even at age 32, Williams is no ordinary backup. The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner and 2002 NFL rushing champion has run for 558 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

He ran for 102 yards against the Bucs, extending his franchise record to 21 games with at least 100 yards.

"I'm completely comfortable with Ricky getting a bigger load, if that's what has to happen," Sparano said. "I know the shape he is in and the way he takes care of his body."

Williams has taken some snaps in the wildcat, and the Dolphins will still run the package if Brown's out, Sparano said.

"There are going to be some other people, if Ronnie's not able to be out there, that would come into play," Sparano said.

Miami's third-string running back is 2008 sixth-round draft pick Lex Hilliard, who has yet to carry the ball in the NFL.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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