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Kerry Wood returns to Cubs

12.17.10 at 7:06 am ET
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The Cubs are scheduled to announce Friday the signing of pitcher Kerry Wood to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.5 million with the Cubs. Wood was a standout starter for the Cubs early in his career, when he was healthy enough to pitch. He left Chicago for the Indians in 2008 and was acquired by the Yankees during last season.

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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban looking to financially end BCS college football system

12.16.10 at 1:10 pm ET
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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has shown interest in financially funding a way to end the BCS college football system in favor of a playoff-style postseason, ESPNDallas.com reports. Cuban told ESPNDallas on Wednesday that he is ‘€œactively interested but in the exploratory stage’€ of creating and funding a playoff system to find college football’€™s national champion.

‘€œThe more I think about it, the more sense it makes as opposed to buying a baseball team,’€ Cuban said. ‘€œYou can do something the whole country wants done.’€

Cuban tried to purchase the Cubs and Rangers within the last few years. He said that he has already contacted several athletic directors from BCS conferences who were interested in the idea, and he plans to contact several school presidents in the upcoming weeks. Cuban told ESPN that he envisions either a 12- or 16-team playoff field with the higher seeds getting home field advantage.

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After just one start, Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson will miss remainder of season with injury

12.16.10 at 1:09 pm ET
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The season was short-lived for Vikings backup quarterback Tavaris Jackson, who saw time two weeks ago against the Bills when regular starter Brett Favre went down with a shoulder injury, and started last weekend in a loss to the Giants. But, according to a league source that told ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter, Jackson will miss the remainder of the season, the team announced on Thursday. Jackson reportedly has a turf toe injury.

Jackson left Monday night’€™s game against the Giants twice with an injury, the second time being turf-toe related. According to ESPN, the team signed free agent quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who hasn’€™t played in an NFL game since the 2008 season.

Favre is questionable for Monday night’€™s game against the Bears, but should the 41-year-old not be ready to go, Ramsey and rookie sixth-round pick Joe Webb will be the two QB’€™s on the depth chart. Webb was going to be used as a wide receiver before the season started, but the team decided to keep him listed at quarterback.

This season, Jackson has thrown for three touchdowns and four interceptions, with a passer rating of 63.9. The decision as to who will start will be made by Vikings coach Leslie Frazier later this week.

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After 14 months, U.S. and Sochaux striker Charlie Davies could play this weekend

12.16.10 at 1:08 pm ET
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Just 14 months after getting in a serious car accident and suffering nearly fatal injuries, Sochaux forward and United States striker Charlie Davies is hoping to return to the soccer field this weekend in the French league, ESPN Soccer Net reports. Davies, a Manchester, N.H. native, sat out the entire 2010 World Cup while his United States team advanced out of the group stage and into the round of 16, where they eventually lost to Ghana.

The 24-year-old Davies says that he feels he is 90 percent healthy just over a year after the accident that claimed another passenger’€™s life. Davies was also a passenger when the accident occurred on Oct. 13, 2009. The striker broke two bones in his right leg, a broken and dislocated left elbow, suffered a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a ruptured bladder, and bleeding on the brain.

The last match Davies played in was the United States’€™ qualifier against Honduras on Oct. 10, just three days before the accident. And now Davies is ready for a comeback.

‘€œI really can’t think of a better way to make my comeback than against Bordeaux, in the game where it all began, and come back after over a year out of the game against one of the top teams in France,’€ Davies said. ‘€œIt would be astonishing to finally get my chance.’€

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Eric Mangini names Browns rookie Colt McCoy starter for remainder of season

12.16.10 at 1:08 pm ET
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Browns head coach Eric Mangini officially named rookie quarterback Colt McCoy the starter for the remainder of the season. Mangini announced the move on Thursday, and said that McCoy, who missed the past three games with a high-ankle sprain, chose to play this weekend after he consulted Browns president, Mike Holmgren.

McCoy will make his first start back against the Bengals after suffering the injury that kept him sidelined for three games. With three games remaining in the regular season, and the Browns officially eliminated from playoff contention, Mangini feels that McCoy has earned the opportunity to grow as a player.

‘€œI feel he’€™s earned this opportunity and I want to give it to him,’€ Mangini said on Thursday. ‘€œI want to see how he continues to grow. This is by no stretch just throwing a young guy in just to throw a young guy in.’€

The Browns’€™ remaining three games will be against all division opponents. The team travels to Cincinnati this weekend, and will host Baltimore and Pittsburgh, respectively.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Colt McCoy, Eric Mangini, Rumor Mill

Bears could protest change of venue for Monday Night Game

12.16.10 at 11:41 am ET
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Judd Zulgad of the Minnesota Star-Tribune has tweeted that the Chicago Bears might file a protest regarding the change of venue for next Monday night’s game in Minnesota. With the Metrodome not able to host the game due to a roof collapse after a snowstorm last weekend, the game is expected to be played at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

The field at TCF Stadium, however, may not be cleared of snow by Monday, and that coupled with temperatures expected to be near zero could make for an unplayable field.

Chris Harris of the Bears tweeted the following about the possibility of playing at TCF on Monday: ‘€œPlayers have concerns of traction n the impact of falling on surface that could be as hard as asphalt. What if ur head hits it.’€”

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Joakim Noah will undergo thumb surgery, could miss up to 10 weeks

12.16.10 at 11:19 am ET
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Bulls center Joakim Noah will have surgery to repair a torn ulna collateral ligament in his right thumb, which he will undergo on Thursday, ESPN reports. Noah started in the Bulls lineup on Wednesday against the Raptors, but after surgery is expected to miss about 8-10 weeks.

Noah had 11 points and 11 rebounds on Wednesday in a 110-93 Bulls victory, but according to Noah, the injury kept him from playing at a high level.

‘€œIt’s hurting and I’m playing and I’ve got to take anti-inflammatories every time I play,’€ Noah said after the game on Wednesday. ‘€œI can’t practice. I have to get right. I have to get right and get back to this team. I’m going to miss playing with the guys. It’s frustrating because I feel like we have a chance to be really, really good. And I’ve never been in a situation where we’re winning like this.’€

The injury, according to ESPN, was suffered back on Nov. 27 in a win over the Kings, and was tweaked again on Dec. 4 in a game against the Rockets. Noah said on Wednesday that he believes he has three torn ligaments.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James ‘not about saving franchises’ like Knicks

12.16.10 at 7:52 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY THURSDAY:
NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Hawks at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ With the Knicks losing another game to the Celtics but claiming they’ve earned respect, New York moves on to prepare for Friday night’s arrival from LeBron James and go back to complaining about how the superstar spurned New York to sign with the Heat in the summer. James explained yesterday some of his thinking about choosing a more established team over a struggling franchise. “Winning appeals to me. And it’s all about winning. I’m not about saving franchises or saving this or that,” he said. Meanwhile, Knicks president Donnie Walsh now says he knew James wasn’t going to take his talents to Times Square after meeting with him.

‘™¦ Free agent pitcher Cliff Lee has his introductory press conference with the Phillies on Wednesday. In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phil Sheridan writes that Lee’s decision to spurn the Yankees and sign with the Phils wasn’t so much about a disdain for New York as a love for Philadelphia.

‘™¦ With Mark Sanchez struggling, Clifton Brown at the Sporting News writes that the Jets can’t afford to be patient or worry too much about Sanchez’ feelings. They need to pull him if he does not play well Sunday vs. Pittsburgh.

‘™¦ At Sports Illustrated, Richard Rothschild has a list of 10 failed dynasties ‘€” those that were one-and-done. The Jerry West-led Lakers are No. 1. No Boston teams are on the list.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 16, 1964, the Red Sox announced plans to move their spring training headquarters to Winter Haven, Fla., beginning in 1966. Which city served as their spring training home the previous seven seasons?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal to conduct Boston Pops at holiday concert

12.15.10 at 6:30 pm ET
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Celtics center Shaquille O’€™Neal will take a night off from rehabbing injuries and the hard court, and will trade it in for the scene at Symphony Hall, as O’€™Neal will conduct the Boston Pops on Monday night as they perform Leroy Anderson‘€™s ‘€œSleigh Ride,’€ The Associated Press reports.

O’€™Neal will climb to the podium and conduct in place of Boston Pops regular, Keith Lockhart, who will step aside to let the 7-foot-1 center guest appear at their annual Christmas concert.

For more information about the concert, check out bostonpops.org.

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Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer fined for late hit on QB Michael Vick

12.15.10 at 6:30 pm ET
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Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer was fined $12,500 for his late hit on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, which was near the head area, ESPNDallas.com reports. Spencer was flagged for a personal foul penalty on the play for a late hit, which is what drew the fine.

According to ESPN, the fine takes nearly 30 percent out of Spencer’€™s weekly pay check, which amounts to $43,588 per week. Earlier in the game on Sunday night, Spencer hit Vick near the sideline, which did not draw any fine form the league.

Jaguars defensive back Will Middleton was also fined by the league on Wednesday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell. Middleton’€™s fine was $5,000. Middleton’€™s hit resulted in a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, but was waved off due to a flag on the hit.

Read More: Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys, michael vick, Rumor Mill