In Sports from United Press International

Dec. 12, 2002 at 3:24 PM
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Kurt Warner to IR

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Cardinals Thursday placed veteran quarterback Kurt Warner on injured reserve, ending his 2002 season.

Warner, a former Super Bowl MVP, has been hampered this season with a hand injury.

He broke the pinky finger on his right, or throwing, hand against Dallas Sept. 29, and missed the next five games.

He played briefly against Chicago on Nov. 18, and returned to the starting lineup for the next two games, at Washington on Nov. 24, and at

Philadelphia on Dec 1.

An X-ray the day following the Eagles' game

revealed a fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his right hand, located at the base of the knuckle. The fracture is unrelated to the pinky injury.

Warner appeared in seven games this season with six starts. He completed 144-of-220 passes for 1,431 yards, with three touchdown passes and 11 interceptions for a passer rating of 67.4.

"I would like to play, but if you look at the situation, it is probably the best thing," Warner said. "You never want to be in a situation where you know you are not going to play the rest of the year and have to sit out. I want to get healthy and be able to do the things I am capable of doing, so this probably gives me the best chance to do that as quickly as possible."

Warner holds many team passing records including career 300-yard passing games (29), career completion percentage (66.7), highest passer rating in a season (109.2, 1999), completions in a season (375, 2001), yards gained in a season (4,830, 2001), most touchdown passes in a season (41, 1999), and most consecutive 300-yard passing games (six, 2000).

Warner became the Rams' starting quarterback in 1999. He is a two-time NFL MVP (1999, 2001) and a Super Bowl MVP (XXXIV).

Warner is the NFL's all-time leading passer with a 98.2 quarterback rating, and has passed for 14,082 yards and 101 touchdowns.

"I would have loved to have played again before the end of the year," Warner said. "In the back of my mind I was believing that there was an outside chance that I could. Now, I just have to look at it like best case scenario to get healed and to get healed as quickly as possible, and be able to start working and getting ready for next year."

He will be replaced on the active roster by wide receiver Dane Looker, who played for the Berlin Thunder in the spring.

He has been on the Rams practice squad for the entire season after being released following training camp.

Bengals put Thompson on IR

CINCINNATI, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A disappointing season for Cincinnati Bengals safety Lamont Thompson officially ended Thursday when he was placed on injured reserve.

The rookie underwent surgery Wednesday to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.

The tear was discovered in October, and as Thompson tried to play through the injury, his condition worsened.

Thompson was a second-round pick from Washington State. He lost his starting job in training camp to Mark Roman. He finished with one interception and nine tackles.

The Bengals also signed quarterback Joe Germaine from the practice squad. The former Ohio State star was last on an NFL roster with Kansas City in 2001.

Nix questionable for Houston Bowl

HATTIESBURG, Ms., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Star tailback Derrick Nix of Southern Mississippi may not play in the Houston Bowl against Oklahoma State because of his kidney injury.

Coach Jeff Brower has indicate that Nix is being watched closely, mainly because the injury has flared up recently, according to The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Ms.

The paper said symptoms of the disease, which caused Nix to miss the latter part of the 2000 season and all of 2001, returned two weeks ago prior to the Golden Eagles' regular season finale against East Carolina.

The paper also said Nix has seen the protein levels in his blood rise to unacceptable levels in the last week, and he's added 5-6 pounds because of retained fluids.

Brower said doctors are working to adjust his medications.

"We're not sure exactly what his situation is," Bower said. "It's day-to-day right now, and we hope to have him back in plenty of time to get ready for the bowl game. We feel for him because he has fought his way through a lot of adversity the past couple of seasons."

Nix had 1,194 yards rushing on 219 carries this season.

USM plays the Cowboys on Dec. 27 at Relaint Stadium, the home of the NFL's expansion Houston Texans. Relaint has the NFL's only retractable roof.

The two schools have met twice before with the Golden Eagles holding a 2-0 series advantage.

They met in Stillwater, Ok., in 2000, with USM beating OSU, 28-6, and then winning, 17-9, in Hattiesburg to open the 2001 season.

Report: Wyoming hires Glenn

CASPER, Wy., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Joe Glenn apparently has been named the new head football coach at Wyoming.

Glenn has been highly successful at Montana. He guided the Grizzlies to the I-AA title in 2001.

The Casper Star-Tribune Thursday reported that Glenn confirmed his signing with Wyoming Wednesday night.

No official statement has been made by either school, but some of Glenn's players at Montana are anxious.

"He hasn't said anything to us," wide receiver Jon Talmage told The Missoulian after Glenn quickly left a team meeting Wednesday night after receiving a call on his cellphone. "He didn't tell us if he was leaving. He didn't tell us if he'd be back."

The Missoulian earlier had reported that Glenn had spoken with Wyoming officials about the UW vacancy.

Glenn also won two Division II national championships while at Northern Colorado (1996, 97), where he was 98-35. His 28-year coaching career also has included a stop at Doane (Ne.) College.

Since 2000, Wyoming has lost 29 of 34 games, including 20 of 21 in Mountain West Conference play. This season, the Cowboys' home attendance dropped to a 30-year low.

Glenn's predecessor, Vic Koenning, was fired on Nov. 18. Under Koenning, the school had the only 10-loss seasons (2000, '02) in the 109-year history of the program.

Leavitt gets longer deal

TAMPA, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Jim Leavitt Thursday agreed to a five-year contract through the 2007 season to coach the football team at South Florida.

The deal includes a base salary of about $2.5 million plus incentives.

Leavitt had been among the lowest-paid coaches in Division I-A with a base salary of $140,000 per season. The new contract replaces his old deal that was to expire after the 2005 season.

The announcement comes two days after Leavitt interviewed for the vacant job at Alabama. While the Tampa Tribune reported Thursday that Leavitt was not offered the job, South Florida did not want to risk losing its coach and moved quickly to give Leavitt a new deal.

The Bulls were a surprising 9-2 this season, but were not invited to a bowl game. South Florida is an independent, but will join Conference USA in 2003.

Leavitt, 46, has been in charge of the South Florida program since it began in 1997. The Bulls have own a 44-22 record under Leavitt, and have winning seasons each of the last five years.

South Florida will open its 2003 season at Alabama.

Suggs wins Lombardi Award

HOUSTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs was honored Wednesday night with the Lombardi Award as the nation's best lineman.

Suggs, who set an NCAA record with 22 sacks this season, was selected over Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson, Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie Harris, and defensive end Cory Redding of Texas. The award honors the top lineman or linebacker in Division I football.

The announcement was made on the field at Reliant Stadium, the home of the NFL's Houston Texans and site of last week's Big 12 Conference championship game. Former President George Bush served as honorary chairman.

Suggs accepted the award after breaking the NCAA single-season sack record Syracuse's Dwight Freeney set last season by five. He also established a school mark for career sacks with 42 and has one game left, against Kansas State in the Holiday Bowl.

Suggs, a high school running back who switched to defense as a freshman at Arizona State, is the first Sun Devil to win the award, and the first player from the Pac-10 to win it since Steve Emtman of Washington in 1991.

On Monday, Suggs was named the winner of the Nagurski Award, which recognizes the nation's top defensive player. He was selected in a vote of more than 400 members of the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee, which is comprised of all Division I head coaches, a selection of sportswriters and broadcasters from around the country, and the 30 living past winners of the award.

Henderson, who sparked a remarkable turnaround by 19th-ranked Maryland, was looking to become the third straight ACC player to receive the award, following Jamal Reynolds of Florida State (2000) and Julius Peppers of North Carolina.

Henderson helped the Terrapins win nine of their last 10 games, topping the century mark in tackles for the third straight season.

Harris, facing constant double-teaming, was trying to become the first Sooner to win the award since Tony Casillas in 1985.

Redding had 25 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks in his last five games.

World Cup of Golf begins

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The team of Phil Mickelson and David Toms is among the favorites this week at the World Golf-Championships-EMC World Cup.

The event teams the top two players from 24 countries in a four-day event at Vista Vallarta Golf Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and begins Thursday.

Mickelson and David Toms will represent the U.S. as the top-ranked team in the field. World No. 1 Tiger Woods of the United States is skipping the event, one in which he played with either David Duval or Mark O'Meara the past three years.

While Woods has been busy in the offseason, he also likes to pick his own partner and would have to play with the next highest ranking American - No. 2 Mickelson.

"We had talked about it, and I understood his situation and he wasn't going to play," Mickelson said.

Mickelson doesn't mind Woods' absence. It allows him to play with Toms, his teammate at the Ryder Cup.

"I felt very good about the United States' chances, playing with David, because we played very well together at the Ryder Cup," Mickelson said. "And I felt that we were going to be every bit as good a team as if Tiger and I had played together."

Mickelson and Toms went 2-1-1 as a team in the unsuccessfully trip for the U.S., to The Belfry. One positive that came out of the experience was the formation of a quality duo.

"I think we enjoy each other's company," Toms said. "I like his style of golf. I think I can complement that. When I'm playing well, I'm kind of a steady player, and he likes to go for it at times, so I think we complement each other for our games."

Toms is ranked fifth in the world and helps give the U.S. a formidable 1-2 punch at this $3 million WGC event, which is the last tournament for many players before the season-opening Mercedes Championships in the first week of January.

This is a rare offseason appearance for Mickelson, who is expecting to take a significant amount of time off this spring after his wife gives birth to their third child.

"This year, it feels like it's an exception, with the birth of our child," he said. "I'll be missing some tournaments in March that I would normally play, and so I don't feel as though it's a stretch to play right now. But typically it would be."

The other countries represented are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, Wales, Mexico, Switzerland, Myanmar, Singapore, Venezuela and Colombia.

Mexico got into the tournament as the host country, giving PGA Tour regular Esteban Toledo a chance to play in front of his home fans. Toledo has risen from poverty to play on the world's richest golf circuit.

"I do think that in the entire game of golf, Esteban Toledo's story is one of the most fascinating," Mickelson said. "His upbringing, where he came from, how he got started to play golf, his success at the highest level, I think that he is somebody that I look at with a lot of respect and I marvel at his success."

Pirates ink Boehringer

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Righthander Brian Boehringer Thursday agreed to a two-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The deal has a club option for 2005, but no other terms were revealed.

Boehringer, 32, went 4-4 with one save and a 3.39 ERA in 2002, his first season with the Pirates. He was second on the team in games, and limited opponents to a .225 batting average.

Originally selected by the Chicago White Sox in the fourth round of the 1991 draft, Boehringer is 20-27 with three saves and a 4.19 ERA in 273 games with the New York Yankees, San Diego, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

The Pirates also designated outfielder Tike Redman for assignment. The 25-year-old Redman batted .270 with two homers and 20 RBI in 76 games with Triple-A Nashville last season.

Yankees sign Enriquez Wilson

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The New York Yankees Thursday signed infielder Enrique Wilson to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not released, but Wilson made $720,000 last season and was eligible for arbitration.

Wilson, 29, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for lefthander Damaso Marte on June 13, 2001, batted .181 (19-for-105) with two home runs and 11 RBI in 60 games last season. One of those home runs was his second career grand slam in a 10-2 romp over the Boston Red Sox on June 1.

Wilson, primarily a defensive replacement and pinch runner, made starts at second base, shortstop, third base, and one in right field last season. He has a .256 batting average with 13 homers and 95 RBI in 384 career games.

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