IN Soirts from United Press International

Sept. 30, 2002 at 7:55 PM
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Rams quarterback out 8-10 weeks

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, the NFL's Most Valuable Player two of the last three years, will miss eight to 10 weeks with a broken right pinky and is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday.

Warner suffered the injury in the first quarter of Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Rams coach Mike Martz described Warner's injury as a "T-shaped break" at the base of the finger. He also said Monday that the Rams were close to signing a quarterback.

The loss of Warner is a tremendous blow for the defending NFC champions. At 0-4, the Rams are off to their worst start in 39 years.

Warner suffered the injury when he tried to brace himself after being knocked to the artificial turf by blitzing safety Roy Williams. He got off the pass, but it was picked off by defensive end Greg Ellis, giving Warner a league-leading eight interceptions.

Warner broke the same finger in an Oct. 22, 2000 game at Kansas City and missed five games.

Jamie Martin replaced Warner Sunday and was 24-of-37 for 262 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

A Pro Bowler each year since he became a starter in 1999, Warner threw for a career-high 4,830 yards last season.

St. Louis has been besieged by injuries and already is without Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace and starting outside linebacker Tommy Polley. Pace tore his left calf muscle in practice last week and Polley strained his groin in last Monday's 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay. Both are expected to miss at least two weeks.

Jets bench Testaverde, start Pennington

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Chad Pennington failed to provide a spark for the New York Jets in their latest loss, but will get another chance on Sunday.

Jets coach Herman Edwards announced on Monday that Pennington, a first-round pick in 2000, will replace veteran Vinny Testaverde as the team's starting quarterback.

Pennington will make his first NFL start on Sunday when the Jets (1-3) host the Kansas City Chiefs, but he played most of the way in Sunday's 28-3 loss at Jacksonville after Testaverde was injured, completing 21-of-34 for 281 yards but failing to get the Jets in the end zone.

Testaverde suffered a bruised right shoulder after being tackled by defensive tackle Marcus Stroud in the first quarter of Sunday's loss at Jacksonville and did not return.

The 38-year-old Testaverde failed to complete any of his four pass attempts in Sunday's loss before suffering the injury. He is 53-of-82 for 485 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions this season. In his 16th NFL season, Testaverde ranks ninth on the all-time list with 39,564 yards.

Tigers fire Pujols

DETROIT, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The Detroit Tigers said Monday that they will not renew the contract of Manager Luis Pujols and his coaching staff for next year after a 55-106 season, 100 of those losses with him at the helm.

Team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski announced the long-expected move following early morning meetings on Monday, first with Pujols then with members of his staff.

Hitting coach Merv Rettenmund already announced that he won't be back next season.

Bruce Fields, who managed Triple-A Toledo to its first postseason appearance since 1984, is a possible successor.

Third base coach Juan Samuel was not retained, but the Tigers plan to highly recommend him to a new manager once one is in place, and Rafael Landestoy has accepted a position as a roving minor league instructor, a position he held with the Tigers prior to becoming first base coach under Pujols.

There has been speculation that former Tigers star shortstop Alan Trammell, a first-base coach with the San Diego Padres, is a candidate for the job.

Most of the coaches joined Pujols after he was promoted from bench coach when the Tigers lost their first six games. He replaced Phil Garner on an interim basis April 8, but was signed a day later for the remainder of the season.

Pujols left and flew home to Florida after his meeting and was not available for comment. Samuel and bullpen coach Jeff Jones declined comment on their way out of Comerica Park.

Pujols had one previous season of managing under his belt, having led the Tigers' Double-A affiliate in Erie (Pa.) to an Eastern League division title in 2001. To help with the transition, he and Dombrowski persuaded former Expos manager Felipe Alou, under whom Pujols served as bench coach with Montreal for eight years, to join the club as Pujols' bench coach. Pitching coach Steve McCatty served in the same capacity for Pujols at Erie, while Rafael Landestoy was a minor-league infield instructor.

Bears linebacker has knee surgery

LAKE FOREST, Ill., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Starting weakside linebacker Warrick Holdman, the Chicago Bear's second-leading tackler in 2001, will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on Monday to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.

Holdman sustained the injury in the first quarter of Sunday's 33-27 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The 26-year-old Holdman is the Bears' fourth defensive starter to be sidelined with an injury, joining defensive tackle Ted Washington, defensive end Phillip Daniels and cornerback R.W. McQuarters.

Washington will miss the next 10 weeks with a torn ligament in his left foot and hairline fracture of his left leg. Daniels suffered a sprained left ankle and McQuarters a sprained MCL in his left knee in the season opener and both are expected back sometime in October.

Mike Caldwell, a 10-year veteran who started all 16 games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season and signed with the Bears as a free agent, will replace Holdman.

Holdman tore his cartilage in his left knee in 2000 and missed the final six games. He was a restricted free agent after last season and signed a four-year, $12 million offer sheet with the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Bears matched the offer.

Petrova ousts Hingis from Kremlin

MOSCOW, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Russia's Nadia Petrova gave fifth seed Martina Hingis of Switzerland a sour birthday treat Monday, a 6-2, 6-2 first-round defeat of the former champion at the $2.199 million Kremlin Cup.

In the only match involving a seeded player, Petrova prevailed in 45 minutes, taking advantage of an error-prone Hingis, who turned 22 years old Monday.

The Moscow native is playing in only her third event after suffering a left foot injury in January. She started the year with a semifinal effort at Gold Coast, but was forced to retire with a pectoralis strain.

Hingis also is on the comeback trail after undergoing left ankle surgery in May. This is her worst performance since her return. The former world No. 1 reached the quarterfinals in three events this summer before a fourth-round effort at the U.S. Open.

"I have missed out on so much of the season that really today I was finding the game I need to play, (but) it is difficult to get into a rhythm playing Nadia because of her serve," said Hingis, who won here two years ago. "Nadia plays very well and she serves well. It was a difficult match and I was unlucky to lose on my birthday."

Tatiana Panova also advanced before her hometown fans, posting a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Anne Kremer of Luxembourg. Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva, two-time winner here, thrashed Israel's Anna Smashnova, 6-1, 6-2.

In the only men's match, Nicolas Escude of France downed third seed and French Open champion Albert Costa of Spain, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

Russians Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov are seeded first and second, respectively. Safin was booed by the fans here last year during a second-round loss. The Moscow native said at the time he would not play the event again, but is back to try to win his first title of the year. He was runner-up at the Australian Open in January and reached the semifinals at the French Open.

Venus Williams of the United States headlines the women's draw, playing her first event since losing her third straight Grand Slam final to younger sister Serena at the U.S. Open. She is second to her sibling for the WTA Tour lead in titles with seven.

Fellow American Jennifer Capriati was seeded second but withdrew Sunday due to illness. She is suffering from a sore throat and fever. Lindsay Davenport of the United States filled Capriati's spot in the draw, while Amelie Mauresmo of France took over the fourth seed. Williams, Davenport, Mauresmo and third seed and defending champion Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia received first-round byes.

Larkin undergoes toe surgery

CINCINNATI, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Cincinnati Reds veteran shortstop Barry Larkin Monday underwent surgery to remove loose bodies and bone spurs in the big toe of his right foot.

Larkin, 38, was hobbled with nagging injuries for much of the 2002 season, but avoided the disabled list despite suffering from ailments in his neck, back, rib cage and toe. He hit just .245 with seven homers, 47 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 145 games.

The 11-time All-Star has spent his entire 17-year career with the Reds.

Larkin is signed through the 2003 season. He owns a .295 lifetime average with 188 homers, 898 RBI and 375 stolen bases in 1,999 games.

Clemente nominees announced

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball has announced the names of the thirty nominees, one from each club, eligible for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

It is part of a league-wide effort that has been initiated to honor the memory of the former Pittsburgh Pirates great and coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations that began on Sept. 15th.

The Award is presented annually to the major league player who combines outstanding skills on the baseball field with devoted work in the community. A panel of baseball dignitaries including Vera Clemente, Commissioner Bud Selig and David D'Alessandro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock Financial Services, is involved in the process. The national winner will be announced during the 2002 World Series.

Among the recipients are Anaheim outfielder Tim Salmon, Atlanta reliever John Smoltz, who just broke the National League record for most saves in a season, Arizona pitcher Randy Johnson, Cleveland first baseman Jim Thome, who set a franchise record for home runs in a single season with 52, and Oakland pitcher Tim Hudson, who went 15-9 this season.

Winless Ravens try for first win of 2002

BALTIMORE, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Ravens, who have almost no offense, host the Denver Broncos in the NFL's weekly Monday night contest.

The game marks the Baltimore return of veteran tight end Shannon Sharpe.

The NFL's all-time leader among tight ends with 700 catches played 10 years with the Broncos and was a member of back-to-back Super Bowl-winning teams in 1997 and '98 before signing with the Ravens as a free agent in 2000.

Sharpe totaled 140 receptions for 1,621 yards in two years in Baltimore, but the salary cap-ravaged Ravens were forced to release him and Broncos Coach Mike Shanahan seized the opportunity to bring him back to Denver.

The Broncos (3-0) posted impressive wins over St. Louis and San Francisco before beating Buffalo, 28-23, last week. Quarterback Brian Griese threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns and running back rookie Clinton Portis rushed for 103 yards on just 18 carries.

The former Super Bowl champion Ravens (0-2) are coming off a bye after scoring just seven points in their first two games. They were blanked 25-0 by Tampa Bay on Sept. 15 as Chris Redman completed just 16-of-38 passes for 141 yards with one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

Seattle lose Hutchinson to broken leg

SEATTLE, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The Seattle Seahawks, who wasted the Minnesota Vikings Sunday night, say left guard Steve Hutchison will be sidelined at least six weeks after suffering a broken right leg in the contest.

Hutchinson went down during a pass play with 2:32 left in the third quarter. He already has undergone surgery. The procedure was performed at Swedish Hospital in Seattle by Drs. Kevin Auld and Ed Khalfayan.

Hutchinson, 24, is in his second year out of Michigan. The 6-5, 313-pounder was a first round pick by Seattle in the 2001 draft.

While he is out, Floyd Wedderburn likely will play more in his absence. Chris Gray moved from right to left guard against the Vikings.

Eastern Kentucky coach to retire

RICHMOND, Ky., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Roy Kidd of Eastern Kentucky, who ranks seventh on the NCAA Division I-A and I-AA list for all-time coaching wins, Monday announced he will retire at the end of the season after 39 years on the job.

The Colonels are 3-2 this season. That gives him 310 career wins. Only Eddie Robinson, Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Bear Bryant, Pop Warner and Amos Alonzo Stagg have more.

Kidd, who has had just two losing seasons at EKU, won 16 Ohio Valley Conference titles and I-AA national championships in 1979 and '82. He was named coach at Eastern Kentucky in 1964, and twice earned Division I-AA national Coach of the Year honors.

Forty-one of his former players have gone on to play in the NFL Eastern Kentucky did not immediately name a successor.

McLendon has broken wrist bone

RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- North Carolina State running back T.A. McLendon, who has been one of several freshmen backfield sensations in the nation this fall, suffered a broken wrist in Saturday's 56-24 decimation of Massachusetts.

He was hurt following a violent collision with a Massachusetts defender. Despite the injury, he still rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

A precautionary x-ray on the wrist after the game came up negative, but Sunday the results of an MRI showed that McLendon had broken the scaphoid bone, a small peanut-sized bone in the wrist joint.

McLendon got his first start on Saturday after tying a school record with five rushing touchdowns in the Wolfpack's overtime win at Texas Tech on Sept. 21. Along with putting together back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances, the Albemarle, N.C., native has scored 10 touchdowns in five games. He did not play at Navy because of a shoulder injury.

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