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Sports briefs for Sept. 19, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Weeden could be back next week

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden could return by next week after spraining his right thumb in the season opener, ESPN reported Thursday.

Weeden’s injury will not require surgery, which speeds up the time he will be able to return to the field.

The Browns will start Brian Hoyer at quarterback this Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings over Jason Campbell.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said Weeden will not be on a short leash when he returns, despite a 48.4 passer rating in the opener.

“I don’t look at it as a leash,” Chudzinski said. “These guys are developing players and they’re learning how to play in this system and I expect us to keep getting better and improving.”

Murray to have back surgery, may miss rest of season

LONDON — Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is to undergo minor back surgery and may be sidelined for the rest of the season, the BBC reported on Thursday.

The 26-year-old missed this year’s French Open due to a back injury but recovered to become the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years.

He lost his U.S. Open title in a quarter-final defeat this month to Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.

Murray, the world number three, has qualified for the season-ending World Tour finals in London in November but may be forced to miss the tournament, the report said.

RB McGahee signs with Browns

Free agent running back Willis McGahee passed his physical Thursday and signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns, according to ESPN.

The Browns picked up McGahee a day after trading second-year running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first round draft pick.

McGahee plans to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, according to

McGahee was the starting running back for the Denver Broncos the past two seasons but the team released him in June. He was slated to earn $2.5 million this season.

McGahee, 31, missed the final two months of last season due to a knee injury. He rushed for 731 yards in 10 games.

The two-time Pro Bowler has 8,097 career rushing yards in nine seasons.

He tried out with the New York Giants earlier this month but the team opted to sign Brandon Jacobs instead.

Mariners owner Yamauchi dies at 85

Former Seattle Mariners majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi died in Japan of pneumonia. He was age 85.

Yamauchi bought 55 percent of the team in 1992. He also owned about 10 percent of Nintendo’s worldwide holdings.

Yamauchi and a local group of investors made the purchase when it looked like another group was going to be offered to buy the team and move it to St. Petersburg, Fla.

“Mr. Yamauchi deserves unending thanks for his key role in saving baseball in Seattle,” Mariners minority investor Buck Ferguson told the Seattle Times on Thursday.

Yamauchi transferred his shares of the Mariners to Nintendo in 2004

for estate planning purposes, but kept titular control of the club. Mariners officials insisted that all major decisions had to go through Yamauchi.

Yamauchi reportedly did not have much interest in baseball as he never saw the Mariners play live, even when they played a series of exhibition games in Tokyo in March 2012 against the Oakland A’s.

NAPA cuts ties with Truex Jr., MWR

NAPA Auto Parts is severing ties with Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip Racing, ending the sponsorship at the end of the current season just 13 months into a three-year extension.

NAPA was outspoken against the team following the Sept. 7 race in Richmond, when teammate Clint Bowyer prevented Ryan Newman from winning the race by intentionally spinning out with just seven laps to go. NASCAR acted swiftly to remove Truex from the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and fined MWR $300,000.

NAPA is the primary sponsor for the No. 56 Toyota Camry and pays at least $12 million annually to be the named sponsor for the entire schedule.

“NAPA believes in fair play and does not condone actions such as those that led to the penalties assessed by NASCAR,” NAPA said in a statement. “We remain supportive of the millions of NASCAR fans and will evaluate our future position in motorsports.”

Without sponsorship, Truex could lose his car, and the MWR team, which includes Bowyer and Brian Vickers, would be forced to cut its workforce significantly.

“There is no doubt, the story of Michael Waltrip Racing begins with NAPA Auto Parts, but there are many more chapters yet to be written,” the team said in a statement.

Raptors sign Wright, Morais, Stone

Forward Chris Wright and guards Carlos Morais and Julyan Stone signed with the Toronto Raptors.

Wright played for Toronto in the 2013 NBA Las Vegas Summer League and participated in 2012 training camp in Halifax. During five games at Summer League he averaged 10.0 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting .588 (20-for-34) from the field.

Wright spent the 2012-13 season with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League and earned third-team All-NBA Development League. He appeared in 39 games with the Red Claws and ranked 10th in League scoring with 18.3 points per game.

Wright split the 2011-12 season between Golden State and the NBA D-League. He appeared in 24 games for the Warriors, averaging 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds. He also appeared in 13 NBA D-League games with Maine and Dakota where he averaged 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.38 blocks.

Morais recently competed for Angola at the 2013 FIBA Africa championship, claiming MVP honors with averages of 15.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in seven games. He scored a team-best 21 points during the championship game against Egypt. Morais represented his country at the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2006 FIBA World Championship.

Stone appeared in 26 games with Denver from 2011-13, averaging 1.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 8.0 minutes. In four playoff contests, he contributed averages of 1.0 points, 0.8 assists and 4.3 minutes. He spent the past two seasons in the NBADL with Iowa and Idaho.

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