Washington Redskins fullback Larry Bowie said yesterday he hopes he will be ready to play within four weeks.

Bowie yesterday had the cast removed from the broken left ankle he suffered during the preseason. He's scheduled to begin a rehabilitation program next week, and said he's optimistic he can beat the original projection for his return--early to mid-November--by two weeks or so. "I think it's been moved up," Bowie said. "We'll see how it goes. I'd say I can be playing in three or four weeks."

Trainer Bubba Tyer said Bowie's return could be accelerated. "It's healed," Tyer said. "Now we'll start rehab. We'll start working with him Monday and see if we can move it up."

News & Notes

The Redskins placed Bowie, guard Rod Milstead, defensive tackle Barron Tanner and newly signed safety Toby Wright on their inactive list for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers at Redskins Stadium. Reserve cornerback Tito Paul, acquired in a preseason trade with the Denver Broncos, will be active for the first time this season and should see extensive action on special teams. Meanwhile, free safety Leomont Evans practiced yesterday and remains likely to start Sunday. He suffered a sprained knee Wednesday. . . .

The Redskins have a new worry--guarding against overconfidence, something that hasn't been a problem at Redskin Park very often in recent seasons.

"It's almost impossible not to gain confidence when you have success," fullback Larry Centers said. "The key is not to be overconfident."

Coach Norv Turner said after yesterday's practice: "I talked about it a lot to our players on Monday and Wednesday, about making sure they looked hard at Carolina. This is a team that's very talented. . . . I think our players understand this is a dangerous football team."

Turner said he likes his team's mind-set after consecutive wins at Giants Stadium over the New York Giants and New York Jets. "There's a real seriousness I like along with the confidence," Turner said.

Running back and kick returner Brian Mitchell likens the club's attitude to what it had during the franchise's most recent Super Bowl season. "I'm starting to see the confidence we had in 1991," said Mitchell, who's in his 10th season with the Redskins. . . .

The club delayed an announcement about naming Steve Baldacci team president until next week.