In Sports from United Press International

Oct. 1, 2001 at 3:08 PM
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In Sports from United Press International

Jordan confident

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- A confident Michael Jordan, at 38 on the eve of another NBA comeback, said Monday he's sure he can still play "on the highest level."

Displaying his love of basketball and lust for competition, Jordan addressed the media for the first time since the Washington Wizards announced his return to the NBA.

"I'm not walking into this scenario thinking I'm going to fail. I'm thinking I'm going to make it work," Jordan said.

"I'm going to have total confidence I can do all the things I need to do. Physically, I know I'm not 25 years old, but I feel I can play the game of basketball on the highest level."

Jordan has not played since 1998, when he led the Chicago Bulls to their third straight NBA championship and sixth in eight years.

"No matter what happens here, you can't take away my six championships," he said.

Anderson lost for season

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga., Oct. 1(UPI) -- Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson is out for the season, Coach Dan Reeves confirmed Monday.

Two years after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, Anderson suffered a similar injury to his left knee in Atlanta's 34-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Anderson crumpled to the field without being touched after a one-yard run in the first quarter. The play was eerily similar to when Anderson tore his right ACL without being touched on the turf at Dallas in a Sept.20, 1999, game and missed the rest of the season.

In the first two games of the 2001 season, Anderson rushed for 184 yards on 51 carries and turned a short pass into a 94-yard touchdown in last week's win over Carolina.

Maurice Smith, a second-year player, will replace Anderson asthe starter. He rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in Sunday's 34-14 win over the Cardinals.

"When you lose a player like Jamal, it hurts," Reeves said. "But, the one thing we felt like was going into the season and we had a little more depth at that position and we will get tested now because we have Maurice and Rodney Thomas is healthy now."

Southern still solid No. 1

NEW YORK, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Two-time defending national champion Georgia Southern remained a solid Monday. But, for the first time in three weeks, the Eagles were not a unanimous choice.

Georgia Southern (4-0) lost two first-place votes and saw its lead over Montana reduced to 42 points. The Eagles collected 36 first-place votes and 934 points after defeating VMI, 31-14.

Montana (3-1), which held off Eastern Washington, 29-26, in double overtime, garnered one first-place vote and remained second with 892 points.

Furman (3-1) received the other first-place vote and climbed one spot to third following a 31-13 victory over Western Carolina.

Rounding out the top 10 were Mcneese State (3-1), Appalachian State (3-1), Eastern Illinois (3-0), Rhode Island (4-0), Youngstown St (3-1), Hofstra (3-1) and Grambling (4-0).

Possible Super switch studied

NEW YORK, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The National Football League is looking at four potential alternate sites for this season's Super Bowl if a restructured schedule forces the NFL to move the game from New Orleans, according to Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

One such proposed site was Giants Stadium at East Rutherford, N.J., within miles of the destroyed World Trade Center, and Tagliabue agreed it would be "one way to help rebuild the city," but also would mean logistical and security problems. Other potential locations under study were Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles. He said, however, the league hoped to keep the game in New Orleans.

The Super Bowl, originally set for Jan. 27, probably will have to be pushed back a week to get in all the playoff games. That would set up a Feb. 3 game and would create a possible scheduling conflict in New Orleans, a conflict Tagliabue has been trying to resolve with the National Automobile Dealers Association, whose convention is scheduled there that day.

Rain interrupts Japan Open

TOKYO, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Tenth-seeded Harel Levy of Isreal advanced to the second round as only three matches were completed Monday due to rain at the $870,000 Japan Open hardcourt tennis event.

Levy defeated Satoshi Iwabuchi of Japan, 6-3, 6-3, under the roof at Ariake Colosseum because of the inclement weather.

American James Blake and Axel Pretzsch of Germany also moved into the next round. Blake dispatched Japanese wild card Yaoki Ishii, 6-3, 6-4, and Pretzsch got past Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

Fourteen other men's first-round matches were postponed while two matches on the women's side were forced to be rescheduled for Tuesday.

U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt is the top seed among the women.

Top seeds try snap back

MOSCOW, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Top seeds Martina Hingis and Yevgeny Kafelnikov each try to snap an eight-month title drought this week at the $2.19 million Kremlin Cup tennis event at Moscow's Olympic Stadium.

Hingis and Kafelnikov have not won titles since February. She claimed her third tournament of the year at the Dubai Open on Feb. 25 and he earned his only title of the year at the Marseille Open one week earlier.

Last year, Hingis defeated doubles partner Anna Kournikova in the women's final while Kafelnikov topped David Prinosil to claim his fourth straight Kremlin Cup crown.

Despite her failure to a win a title of late, Hingis has remained No. 1 in the world. She is playing in her first tournament since reaching the semifinals of the U.S. Open last month and has won 11 of her last 14 matches.

Hingis, who turned 21 on Sunday, will face a diluted draw after U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Venus Williams and world No. 3 Lindsay Davenport withdrew last week. The Americans pulled out of the tournament because of security fears following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Clippers hang onto Brand

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Clippers exercised the fourth-year contract option on forward Elton Brand for the 2002-03 season Monday.

Brand will become a restricted free agent following the 2002-03 season with the Clippers holding the right of first refusal. The Clippers acquired Brand from the Chicago Bulls in June for the second pick in the 2001 draft and the Bulls selected high school star Tyson Chandler.

The top overall pick in the 1999 draft, Brand shared Rookie of the Year honors and has averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in his first two seasons.

Magic signs backup center

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Free agent center Todd Fuller, a Miami Heat reserve last season, switched from one Florida team to another Monday, signing with the Orlando Magic. Terms were not disclosed.

Fuller averaged 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 7.7 minutes in 10 games with Miami. In his new role, he likely will back up Patrick Ewing, another free agent signee.

Originally selected by Golden State in the first round of the 1996 draft, the former North Carolina State star has appeared in 225 NBA regular season games with Golden State, Utah, Charlotte and Miami. He has averaged 3.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 11.1 minutes.

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