The Panthers yesterday signed Skip Hicks, a running back who has been out of the NFL all season.

To make room for him, the Panthers placed Lamar Smith on injured reserve. Smith was charged with drunken driving last month and has been on a leave of absence since his arrest.

Also, WR Bashir Yamini was added to the practice squad.

Hicks spent last year with Tennessee, and the Titans released him during preseason. Hicks, who began his career with the Redskins, has played in 38 games in four years, rushing for 1,109 yards and 13 touchdowns.

* C. BROWN SENT TO INJURED RESERVE: Courtney Brown was placed on injured reserve, the latest blow to the injury-plagued Browns defensive end who was the first overall pick in the 2000 draft.

Brown, who has struggled through a season of injuries and ineffective play, will undergo knee surgery today.

Coach Butch Davis said Monday Brown appears to have cartilage damage -- but no ligament damage -- in his left knee. . . .

Dolphins G Jamie Nails had successful surgery to repair his left Achilles' tendon. . . .

Bills CB Jason Bostic was placed on injured reserve after having surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee. . . .

The Cardinals placed LB LeVar Fisher on injured reserve and signed G Teag Whiting. Fisher is the 12th Arizona player to go on the injured list or the nonfootball injury reserve list, including five starters and two replacement starters.

-- From News Services