Other Sports

Sports briefs: Jan. 1

NFL

Many stars out or iffy for final week of regular season

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew will not play in the team's finale at Houston because of a knee injury. Coach Jack Del Rio ruled Jones-Drew out Friday. The Jaguars (8-7) also will be without quarterback David Garrard, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday following finger surgery. Jones-Drew has played with an injured right knee all season, but it really started bothering him after his sixth consecutive 100-yard game on Dec. 12. He has missed six straight practices, did not play last week against Washington and likely will have surgery after the season.

■ Texans Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson will miss Houston's season finale against Jacksonville and will have arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle next week. Johnson sprained his ankle in Week 2, and the injury has gotten progressively worse. He sat out last week's 24-23 loss to Denver and hasn't practiced this week.

■ Giants Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara, receiver Hakeem Nicks and backup defensive lineman Dave Tollefson will not play in Sunday's game against the Redskins in Washington. Coach Tom Coughlin ruled the three out after they missed practice for the third straight day. O'Hara aggravated an Achilles' tendon injury in his left foot, while Nicks has a broken big toe on his left foot. Tollefson hurt a knee two games ago. New York (9-6) must win or tie and hope Chicago beats Green Bay to make the playoffs.

■ Eagles Coach Andy Reid said it would be "a stretch" for Michael Vick to play Sunday against the Cowboys after the quarterback missed a second straight day of practice. The game has no significance to Philadelphia's playoff status. Vick bruised his right leg on the first play of the Eagles' 24-14 loss to the Vikings Tuesday night, a loss that eliminated the Eagles from contention for a first-round playoff bye and locked them into the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs as the East division champions.

Mark Sanchez was limited again at practice with a sore right shoulder, but will start as planned for the Jets on Sunday. Coach Rex Ryan said he's still uncertain how much the quarterback will play against the Bills, but "I don't believe it will be long." Starting cornerbacks Darrelle Revis (right hamstring) and Antonio Cromartie (groin) are also questionable, and Ryan said it's a possibility both might not play.

Jon Kitna was listed as questionable for the Cowboys' season finale. Kitna did not practice again Friday, increasing the odds that quarterback Stephen McGee will make the first start of his NFL career Sunday in Philadelphia.

■ Steelers safety Troy Polamalu practiced for the first time in three weeks, leaving his status for Pittsburgh's game in Cleveland uncertain. Polamalu has missed the last two games with a right Achilles' tendon injury. Polamalu was selected this week by his teammates as the Steelers' most valuable player, the first time in his career he was chosen. He also was picked for his sixth Pro Bowl.

David Buehler might not be kicking extra points and field goals for the Cowboys. Six days after Buehler missed an extra point in the final minutes of a 28-27 loss to Arizona, the Cowboys signed veteran Kris Brown. He could be used Sunday for the season finale against Philadelphia. Buehler remains valuable to the Cowboys as a kickoff specialist. He set a club record for touchbacks last season, although his boots have suffered this year with his added duties on PATs and field goals. He is 24-for-31 on field goals.

■ Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was listed as questionable for Sunday's season finale against the Jets because of a right knee injury. Coach Chan Gailey said Fitzpatrick will be a game-time decision. If he can't play, backup Brian Brohm likely will get the start. Rookie Levi Brown is Buffalo's other quarterback.

Brett Favre was listed on the injury report as doubtful to play for the Vikings in what he has said will be the final game of his 20-year career. Wearing his red quarterback jersey, a helmetless Favre didn't participate in any drills during the Vikings practice Friday.

■ Receiver Chad Ochocinco will miss the Bengals' final game in Baltimore with a bad left ankle that needs surgery.

Weis-to-Florida rumors make the rounds

Chiefs Coach Todd Haley said he has no knowledge of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis possibly taking a similar job with the University of Florida. Various media reports Friday stated Weis might leave the Chiefs for Florida after this season. "It would be news to me," Haley said. Weis became offensive coordinator in Kansas City this season after getting fired as coach at Notre Dame last year. He's helped the Chiefs make a worst-to-first turnaround and win the AFC West. Under his tutelage, quarterback Matt Cassel has thrown 27 touchdown passes and only five interceptions.

■ The Panthers formally announced Coach John Fox won't return next season, ending a nine-year run in which he led the franchise to its only Super Bowl. His departure has been no secret, and Fox said after his final full practice Friday that he'd been preparing for it for two years. Fox will coach his final game Sunday at Atlanta.

Hockey

Winter Classic moved to 8 p.m. start

The NHL moved the Capitals-Penguins Winter Classic to a nighttime start to avoid predicted daytime rain in Pittsburgh. The game, scheduled to start shortly after 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, was moved to 8 p.m. It will be the first of the four Winter Classics to be played at night. The NHL announced the switch Friday so the 67,000 fans — about 20,000 from Washington — had time to adjust their plans. Forecasters are calling for nearly an inch of rain before it lets up late in the day. The game cannot be played in steady rain because it would significantly increase the risk of player injuries.

Horse racing

Lexington's HRRN wins Eclipse award

The Lexington-based Horse Racing Radio Network won the Media Eclipse Award in the Audio/Multimedia Internet category for its live coverage of the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

"It's overwhelming to win the Eclipse Award," said Mike Penna, president of HRRN. "It's the highest honor we have in our sport. To win an Eclipse is the ultimate recognition for our broadcast team."

The network provided 10 hours of coverage during the two-day Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5-6. The coverage was produced by Adam Frenier and John Edwards, and Penna served as host.

Icabad Crane rallied to beat Manteca by a half-length in the $65,000 Alex M. Robb Stakes at Aqueduct in New York.

Etc.

It's Nadal-Federer in Abu Dhabi finals

Top-ranked Rafael Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 Friday and will face Roger Federer in the finals of the World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Federer rallied to defeat Robin Soderling 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

■ The National Soccer Coaches Association of America named Northern Kentucky's Steve Beattie its men's player of the year for NCAA Division II. Beattie, a senior from Skerries, Ireland, setting single-season school records for goals (26), assists (16), points (68) and shots (143). His 77 career goals are also a school record.

■ The Baltimore Orioles and free agent first baseman Derrek Lee reached an oral agreement on a one-year contract pending a physical. The 35-year-old Lee split time with the Cubs and Braves last season, totaling 19 homers and 80 RBI in 148 games.

The last word

Wide receiver Roy Williams hasn't lived up to the expectations the Cowboys had for him when they traded first-, third- and sixth-round draft picks to the Lions for him. He has just 36 receptions this season. Since Week 5, he's had just one game with more than 33 receiving yards. He doesn't have a TD catch since Week 6:

"I can only do what I can do. Started off nice (21 catches for 306 yards and five TDs in the Cowboys' first five games), then fell off the face of the earth. ... I was the go-to guy in Detroit. Coordinators can make who they want to make the star."

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