Sports briefs 11/16/04

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Baseball

* St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen had arthroscopic hip surgery Monday and should be fully recovered in time for next year's spring training, the Cardinals said.

Isringhausen, 32, underwent the surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and should resume full activities in six to eight weeks, the club said.

Isringhausen had a career-best 47 saves last season

Colleges

* Missouri backup center Jeffrey Ferguson on Monday began a three-game suspension for participating in an unsanctioned summer league, missing the team's season opener.

Ferguson, a 6-foot-11 junior from Toronto, is the tallest player on the team and returned to school after a one-year absence due to what the school described as visa problems in Canada.

* Jason White and Gayron Allen of Oklahoma and Prentiss Elliott of Oklahoma State were named Big 12 players of the week on Monday.

White completed 29-of-35 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns in OU's 30-3 win over rival Nebraska. The reigning Heisman winner broke his own school record by completing 18 consecutive passes.

Gayron Allen had eight tackles in the game, which clinched the Big 12 South Division title for the Sooners. Allen also had an interception that led to an Oklahoma touchdown drive.

Elliott piled up 131 yards on four returns, including a 79 yard punt return for a touchdown in the Cowboys' 42-21 win over Baylor.

Football

* Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher will miss four to six weeks with a lower leg injury he suffered in Sunday's 19-17 win over the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Monday.

Urlacher, who missed all of the preseason and two regular-season games with a hamstring problem, had a surgical procedure done early Monday morning on his leg, coach Lovie Smith said Monday.

There was some internal bleeding in the area of the injury, Smith said. He said Urlacher would not be put on injured reserve.

The Bears (4-5) have a three-game winning streak, based on the stellar play of their defense, headed into Sunday's game against the Colts.

* Tennessee strong safety Tank Williams will miss the rest of the season after an MRI exam Monday confirmed he had torn left knee ligaments, and tackle Brad Hopkins will miss at least one game and possibly three with broken bones in his right hand.

Williams had started 41 straight regular-season games since being drafted in the second round in 2002.

Motorsports

NASCAR chairman Brian France will keep the new points system in place for next year, satisfied that the closest championship race in history is proof that the 10-race playoff structure works better than expected.

Five drivers head into Sunday's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway separated by 82 points, creating a one-race shootout to crown the Nextel Cup champion.

"The new points system has been wonderful, it's created interest and a scenario that was unthinkable under the old system," France told The Associated Press.

Olympics

* The five cities looking to host the 2012 Summer Games submitted bids to the International Olympic Committee on Monday, entering the final stage of a long process in hopes of landing one of the biggest prizes in sports.

Paris, the front-runner to win next year's vote, turned in documents, as did London, Madrid, New York and Moscow. Each book totals more than 550 pages, allowing the IOC to evaluate venues, security, transportation, hotels and financing.

Tennis

* Roger Federer still looks unbeatable on the court.

Showing no signs of a torn thigh muscle that sidelined him for three weeks, Federer returned to action Monday with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over Gaston Gaudio of Argentina in the first round of the ATP Masters Cup championships.

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