In Sports from United Press International
Abreu undergoes appendectomy
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Philadelphia Phillies outfielder underwent an emergency appendectomy in his native Venezuela last weekend.
According to team officials, Abreu is resting comfortably at his home in Caracas and is expected to be in Clearwater, Fla., on February 18, two days before full spring training workouts begin.
"We talked about bringing him (to Philadelphia) to get examined by our doctors, but his incision needs about 10 days to heal, so he probably shouldn't be flying," general manager Ed Wade said. "We just figured it made more sense to see him in spring training as usual."
Abreu fell ill after competing in a home run derby competition on Friday night.
He hit .289 and set career highs with 31 homers, 110 RBI and 36 stolen bases last season.
Tennessee receiver to enter NFL draft
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Tennessee wide receiver Donte' Stallworth is headed for the NFL draft.
Stallworth informed school officials Monday that he has decided not to appeal the NCAA's denial of a request to restore his eligibility.
Stallworth had sent the NFL the required paperwork making him elgible for the draft, but he had a change of heart before the January 12 deadline. The NCAA refused to restore his eligibility on Thursday and Stallworth, with the approval of the NFL, will enter the draft instead of filing an appeal.
He caught 41 passes for 821 yards and 10 scores last season as a junior and would have been one of the premier receivers in college football next season.
O'Neal, Kidd NBA players of week
Kidd had a pair of triple-doubles last week, giving him a league-leading five this season. He has 43 in his career, moving ahead of Fat Lever into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list. Kidd capped the week with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 98-91 win over Toronto.
The Lakers won all four of their games last week behind O'Neal, who averaged 27.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.75 blocks. O'Neal capped the week with 31 points and 13 rebounds in a 101-94 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Vanbiesbrouck halts retirement
WEST ORANGE, N.J., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- John Vanbiesbrouck, the New Jersey Devils' backup goaltender during last season's run to a second straight Stanley Cup finals, is coming out of retirement and returning to his reserve role.
Vanbiesbrouck, 38, agreed to terms with the Devils on Monday and trained with goaltender coach Jacques Caron following the team's Monday practice.
ESPN reported that Vanbiesbrouck agreed to a deal worth $500,000.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello broached the idea to Vanbiesbrouck last Tuesday, one day after coach Larry Robinson was fired and former Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks coach Kevin Constantine was named his replacement.
Vanbiesbrouck will give the Devils a trusted backup to the heavily-worked Martin Brodeur, who has started 49 of New Jersey's 53 contests this season.
After being acquired from the New York Islanders on March 12, 2001, Vanbiesbrouck was 4-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .935 save percentage. But he retired following New Jersey's Game Seven loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals.
Super Bowl winners return home
BOSTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The New England Patriots returned home Monday on top of the pro football world.
The night before they had done what seemed impossible such a short time ago. They turned down and turned back the high-powere4d St. Louis Rams to win Super Bowl XXXVI on Adam Vinatieri's last-second 48-yard field goal 20-17.
Now, championship-starved New England sports fans finally had something to celebrate. And, they plan to do it up right on Tuesday. As the Boston Herald suggested to its readers, "Call in sick if you have to." Just don't miss the party.
The festivities begin at noon Tuesday on City Hall Plaza and one columnist said the fever-pitch hullabaloo "is expected make the Mardi Gras-style festivities going down in New Orleans look like a tea party."
The Patriots will be treated to a parade through downtown Boston followed by a rally at the plaza hosted by Mayor Thomas M. Menino in front of thousands of happy Pats fans.
Coker gets 3-year contract extension
CORAL GABLES, Fla., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Larry Coker, who could not have had a better rookie season as football coach at Miami, was rewarded with a three-year contract extension through the 2006 season on Monday.
After spending decades as an assistant, Coker guided the Hurricanes to the national championship in 2001, capping a 12-0 season with a 37-14 victory over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.
Coker became the first rookie college coach to lead his team to a national football title since Michigan's Bennie Oosterbahn in 1948.
"Coach Coker is terrific," Miami president Dr. Donna Shalala said. "We are extending his contract with great enthusiasm and respect."
Coker, 53, was named the offensive coordinator of the Hurricanes in 1995 and took over as coach after Butch Davis resigned to become coach of the NFL's Cleveland Browns.
Saints discuss Williams trade
MIAMI, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints have begun preliminary talks about a possible trade that would send Saints running back Ricky Williams to the Dolphins, it was reported Monday.
ESPN also reported the Saints had contacted other teams to test interest in Williams, the NFC's fourth leading rusher last season with 1,245 yards.
"I told him we'd get back to him if we were interested," Rick Spielman, Dolphins vice president of football operations, said in Sunday's Miami Herald.
Earlier this week, Williams and agent Leigh Steinberg discussed the possibility of a trade to Miami.
"It's a win-win situation," Williams told the Herald earlier in the week. "I'm finally happy in New Orleans, so I could stay happy here or I'd be happy in Miami."
Three join Indy 500 Hall of Fame
INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Roger Penske, the winningest team ownerin Indianapolis 500 history with 11 triumphs, tops a list of three individuals voted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame on Monday.
Longtime "Voice of the 500," the late Sid Collins, and winning car owners Andy Granatelli and Penske will become the newest members of the Auto Racing Hall of Fame. They will be inducted May 17 at the brickyard.
The hall honors drivers, car owners, mechanics and event officials who have made significant contributions to the success and history of the sport.
Penske began his career in the racing industry as an accomplished driver. He retired from driving in 1964, and in the last 38 years, has built a remarkable business empire and set numerous records in the racing world. He chalked up 110 victories in Indy-style racing, including a record 11 at Indianapolis.
Hornets' Wesley out with broken foot
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Charlotte Hornets guard David Wesley is expected to be sidelined up to four weeks with a cracked bone in his foot.
The Hornets announced Monday that Wesley, who has missed the last two games, will be fitted with a protective boot and that he will be evaluated following the end of a three-to-four week period.
The news comes with the Hornets playing their best basketball of the season. Charlotte (23-23) has won five of its last seven games and has returned to .500 for the first time since it was 11-11 on Dec. 13.