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Sports briefs for Dec. 16, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Vitali Klitschko vacates heavyweight title

Vitali Klitschko, who has not defended his WBC heavyweight title in 15 months and is involved in the political unrest in his native Ukraine, vacated his title Monday, reported.

As a result, the WBC named him the organization’s “champion emeritus.” If Klitschko, 42, decides to fight again, he will have the opportunity to fight for the title.

Vitali Klitschko is the older brother of Wladimir Klitschko, who successfully defended his WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring heavyweight titles with a unanimous decision over Alexander Povetkin in October.

Even the WBC left the door open for though Vitali Klitschko to return, it does not sound as if he intends to fight again.

“I want to thank the WBC and its president, Don Jose Sulaiman, for the support in our fight for democracy and freedom in Ukraine,” Vitali Klitschko said, according to the report.

Cardinals’ Fitzgerald suffers concussion

EditorsNote: Updates with Fitzgerald’s concussion Report: Cardinals’ Fitzgerald suffers concussion

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald sustained a concussion attempting to recover an onside kick in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 37-34 overtime win against the Tennessee Titans, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

Fitzgerald missed overtime while going through the league’s concussion protocol, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Fitzgerald also was evaluated for a concussion last October and suffered one late in the 2010 season. He will have to be cleared to suit up this week against the Seattle Seahawks.

Fitzgerald got hurt when he was hit by Tennessee’s Jackie Battle trying to field an onside kick in the fourth quarter. The Titans recovered and tied the game.

Meanwhile, quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game.

Broncos WR Welker still out of practice

The Denver Broncos were still without wide receiver Wes Welker, who missed last week’s game because of a concussion, when they returned to practice Monday.

Welker missed the 27-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night after suffering his second concussion in a month.

Quarterback Peyton Manning also missed most of Monday’s practice to rest. Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe (illness) and cornerback Kayvon Webster (broken thumb) were out as well.

The Broncos will begin their game-planning practices for the Houston Texans on Wednesday.

The Broncos are 11-3 and will capture the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed if they beat 2-12 Houston and 4-10 Oakland in their final two games.

Arizona keeps No. 1 ranking in basketball polls

Thanks to its 72-70 road victory over Michigan on Saturday, Arizona retained the No. 1 spot in both the Associated Press and USA Today top-25 polls released Monday.

The Wildcats (11-0) received 63 of 65 first-place votes in the AP media poll and 30 of 32 first-place votes in the coaches poll.

Syracuse and Ohio State remained No. 2 and 3, respectively, as the top three spots in both polls were unchanged from last week.

Wisconsin is No. 4 in the AP poll, while Louisville holds that spot in the USA Today rankings. Michigan State is No. 5 in both polls.

Kentucky, which was No. 1 in both preseason polls, slipped to No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 21 in the coaches poll after its loss to North Carolina dropped its record to 6-3.

Bears’ Tillman out for rest of season

Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, sidelined since Nov. 10 with a triceps injury, will not return this season even if the team makes the playoffs, coach Marc Trestman said Monday.

Meanwhile, Trestman said he is reasonably optimistic that linebacker Lance Briggs can play on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Briggs has missed the last seven games with a shoulder injury.

If the Bears win their final two games — at Philadelphia on Sunday night and home against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 29 — while the Detroit Lions lose at least one game, then Chicago will go to the playoffs.

Tillman was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return after he tore his right triceps in the Bears’ 21-19 loss to the Lions on Nov. 10.

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