In Sports from United Press International

Jan. 8, 2003 at 1:58 AM
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In the NBA:

Sacramento 101......MILWAUKEE 76

HOUSTON 94..........Minnesota 86

Phoenix 88..........PORTLAND 81

LA LAKERS 119.......Seattle 98

In the NHL:

NY ISLANDERS 6......Pittsburgh 3

PHILADELPHIA 3......Buffalo 2

TAMPA BAY 1.........Detroit 0

ATLANTA 3...........Carolina 3 (OT)

NEW JERSEY 3........Montreal 2

TORONTO 5...........Boston 2

NASHVILLE 2.........St Louis 1 (OT)

DALLAS 7............Los Angeles 4

Calgary 4...........COLORADO 2

In Top 25 College Basketball:

Illinois (11) 76...................MINNESOTA 70

Richmond 67........................XAVIER (22) 59

WAKE FOREST (18) 98................Elon 56

MISSOURI (13) 88...................Centenary 58

OKLAHOMA (9) 73....................Connecticut (3) 63

Marquette (23) 60..................SAINT LOUIS 54

Florida (12) 74....................MISSISSIPPI ST (8) 66

Shoulder surgery for Brooks

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks will have surgery later this month to repair his throwing shoulder.

The injury prevented him from playing at 100 percent at season's end, and may have kept his team out of the playoffs.

Brooks is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 17 to re-attach the infraspinatus tendon in his right shoulder. He played with pain after suffering the injury, but a second opinion recommended surgery.

"He obviously had some discomfort immediately following the injury, but Aaron demonstrated good range of motion and good overall shoulder strength over the balance of the regular season," said General Manager Mickey Loomis.

After hurting the shoulder, Brooks rehabilitated it to improve strength, decrease muscle soreness, and increase his motion. The plan was to re-evaluate the shoulder at the end of the season.

Loomis expects Brooks to be ready for the team's first mini-camp next spring.

The Saints may have gone too far with their injured quarterback, who was booed throughout a season-ending 10-6 loss to Carolina that kept New Orleans from clinching an NFC wild-card berth.

Brooks, 26, started every game for the second straight season. He passed for 3,572 yards and 27 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. He threw for 155 yards or fewer in three of the Saints' final five games.

The Saints lost their last three contests and six of their final nine following a 6-1 start.

Brooks broke out as a first-time starter in 2001, throwing for 3,832 yards and a team record-tying 26 touchdown passes with 22 interceptions. He also set team quarterback marks with 358 rushing yards and 4,190 total yards.

Brooks, a product of Virginia, came over from the Green Bay Packers before the 2000 season and won the starting job from Jeff Blake the following year.

Toefield going pro

BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- LSU junior running back LaBrandon Toefield has elected to enter the NFL draft in 2003.

Toefield, who missed four games in 2002 with a broken arm, rushed for 992 yards and a SEC record-tying 19 touchdowns in 2001. In three years at LSU, he ran for 2,149 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Last season, because of the arm injury, he was held to 475 yards and two scores.

"I just felt it was the right time," said Toefield. "I have been through a lot with my injuries over the years. Right now, I am healthy. I talked it over with my family and they are behind me 100 percent."

Toefield became the fourth LSU player in the last three years to enter the draft early, joining quarterback Josh Booty, who came out early following the 2000 season, as did wide receiver Josh Reed and linebacker Trev Faulk in 2001.

"Toe was an outstanding member of this program for the three years that we coached him," said LSU Coach Nick Saban. "He's a great team player and he always did whatever was necessary to help this team be successful."

Toefield capped his career by rushing for 67 yards on 22 carries in LSU's 35-20 loss to Texas in the Cotton Bowl. He also caught a 20-yard touchdown against the Longhorns, the only receiving score of his career.

He suffered a knee injury in last season's SEC title game against Tennessee and missed the Sugar Bowl against Illinois.

Reds ink, Heredia, Mercker

CINCINNATI, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The Cincinnati Reds Tuesday signed pitchers Kent Mercker and Felix Heredia to minor league contracts.

The Reds added some potential lefthanded help to their bullpen. Both pitchers will be invited to spring training, bringing to 20 the number of non-roster invitees to Reds' camp.

Heredia, 27, was 1-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 53 relief appearances for Toronto last season, posting a 1.83 ERA after the All-Star break. In seven seasons with Florida, the Chicago Cubs, and Toronto, he has limited lefthanded batters to a .220 batting average.

Mercker, a native of Dublin, Ohio, was 3-1 with a 6.14 ERA in a career-high 58 games last year with the Colorado Rockies.

Lefthanders were hitting just .103 against him before he suffered a broken pitching hand on June 5 trying to field a comebacker.

Mercker, the fifth overall pick in the 1986 draft, also pitched for the Reds in 1997, going 8-11 with a 3.92 ERA in 28 games, including 25 starts.

Report: Senators to file for bankruptcy

OTTAWA, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The cash-strapped Ottawa Senators reportedly are about to file for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Canada.

The move could be followed by a cash infusion from the National Hockey League.

TSN of Canada reported Tuesday that an announcement could come "as early as the next 24 hours."

Citing an anonymous source, the Ottawa Sun reported Tuesday that the NHL is poised to announce a financing package that would help the Senators get through the summer. Team spokesman Phil LeGault refused comment on both reports.

Tuesday's developments came a week after FleetBoston Financial Corporation and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce backed out of a complex $234 million deal that would have erased much of the Senators' considerable tax debt. The plan included $42 million to cover operating expenses, including players' salaries.

The team missed a payroll payment Wednesday, with players receiving a note from owner Rod Bryden, saying they would be paid in the "next couple of days."

So far, Ottawa's financial woes have not filtered down to the ice.

The Senators lead the NHL with 56 points and have just three losses in their last 28 games (20-3-4-1).

Ottawa is not the only NHL franchise facing an economic crisis. Prospective owner Mark Hamister has until Friday to complete his purchase of the Buffalo Sabres. Hamister and partner Todd Berman last week received an extension from the NHL, but are trying to win support from New York state officials for a $30 million economic development package.

If Hamister's bid fails, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has not ruled out bankruptcy for a team that reached the Stanley Cup Finals just 3 1/2 years ago.

Zaumner sidelined by broken foot

TORONTO, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Boston Bruins left wing Rob Zamuner suffered a broken foot Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He will be sidelined indefinitely.

Zamuner suffered the injury late in the first period. He made a cut in the left faceoff circle while skating in his own zone and collapsed to the ice.

Zaumner, 33, has five goals, five assists, and a plus-5 rating in 38 games this season, his 12th in the NHL and second with Boston.

In a freefall following a 19-4-3-1 start, the Bruins already were playing without captain Joe Thornton, who is sidelined with an infected elbow, and left wing Sergei Samsonov, who is recovering from wrist surgery.

Zamuner has 130 goals and 166 assists in 724 games, also playing for the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, and Boston.

Penguins recall Caron

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday recalled goaltender Sebastien Caron from the American Hockey League.

He will fill in for the injured Johan Hedberg.

Caron, 22, is 11-14-1 with one shutout and a 3.12 goals-against average in 26 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. The 1999 fourth-round draft pick, a native of Quebec has not appeared in an NHL game.

Hedberg aggravated a shoulder injury in Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders. The 29-year-old Swede is 12-10-3 with one shutout and a 2.82 GAA in 25 games.

Hedberg has split time this season with Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

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