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Dec. 28, 2012 at 5:15 PM
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NHL gives players new contract plan

NEW YORK, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The NHL has submitted a new contract proposal to the NHL Players Association as the league's owners seek an agreement that would end their labor impasse.

The NHL said it delivered a proposed collective bargaining agreement to players' union representatives Thursday but didn't release details.

"We are hopeful that once the union's staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider out new proposal, they will share it with the players," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said.

"We want to get back on the ice as soon as possible."

TSN.ca reported a player said the NHL's proposal included, among other issues, a six-year limit on contracts. The league had previously sought a five-year limit.

The NHL owners locked players out Sept. 15 and more than half of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule -- all games through Jan. 14 -- has been canceled.

The dispute centers on allocation of hockey-related revenues. The league is looking to reduce the players' share of those funds, which the most recent CBA set at 57 percent.

The owners also seek to do away with salary arbitration and want to alter free-agency rules.

Lewis gets Browns' quarterback start

BEREA, Ohio, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Thaddeus Lewis, a third-stringer most of the season, will start at quarterback for Cleveland Sunday against Pittsburgh, Browns Coach Pat Shurmur said Friday.

Cleveland quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy both have injured right shoulders, leaving Shurmur to give Lewis his first NFL start.

In fact, Lewis, who was signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2010 as an undrafted free agent, has yet to play in an NFL game. He will be going against the No. 1 defense in the NFL in the Steelers.

The Browns this week signed Josh Johnson, who will serve as backup to Lewis.

Shurmur also said rookie running back Trent Richardson, who has gained 950 yards this season, will miss Sunday's game because of a sprained ankle. Montario Hardesty will start in Richardson's place.

The Browns wrap up their 2012 season Sunday at Pittsburgh. Cleveland is 5-10 on the year and in fourth place in the AFC North. The Steelers (7-8) are in third.

Drew-Jones put on injured reserve

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Jacksonville running back Maurice Drew-Jones, who led the NFL in rushing in 2011 but has appeared in just six games this year, was placed on injured reserve.

Jones-Drew, 27, has missed the last nine games because of a sprained left foot suffered Oct. 21. He gained 414 yards on 86 carries prior to the injury.

The Jaguars placed him on the injured reserve list Friday.

He led the NFL with 1,606 yards on 343 carries in 2011 and was coming off three consecutive seasons in which he had more than 1,300 yards and was selected to the Pro Bowl each year.

Jacksonville is 30th in the NFL in team rushing after finishing 12th in that category in 2011.

The Jaguars, tied at 2-13 with the Kansas City Chiefs for the worst record in the NFL, end their season Sunday at Tennessee.

Nadal to miss Australian Open

MADRID, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- World No. 4-ranked Rafael Nadal said Friday he will miss next month's Australian Open due to illness.

It will be the second consecutive Grand Slam event Nadal will have missed. He suffered a knee injury after he won the 2012 French Open and, after an early exit at Wimbledon, missed the U.S. Open.

Nadal hasn't played in an ATP tournament since late June when he was stunned in the second round at Wimbledon.

He has said the knee injury has healed but withdrew from this week's exhibition in Abu Dhabi because of a stomach illness. The same illness will keep him on the sidelines for the Australian Open.

"My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors but this virus didn't allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled," Nadal said in a Facebook posting.

"As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks.

"I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event."

Nadal was the runner-up to Novak Djokovic in last year's Australian Open. He won the event in 2009.

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