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Sports briefs for Sept. 16, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Pats’ Amendola works gingerly in practice

New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola worked through drills gingerly at the start of practice Monday, according to ESPN.

Fox Sports reported Sunday that Amendola has torn adductor muscles in his hip and may need surgery.

Previous reports indicated that Amendola would miss two to six weeks with a sports hernia injury.

He could return to game action in less than a month if he does not need surgery. He did not play last Thursday’s game against the New York Jets. He was initially injured during the preseason and missed the last two exhibition games. He aggravated the injury during the Patriots’ regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills Sept. 8 but had 10 catches for 104 yards.

Abuse could lead to suicide, says former referee

LONDON — Referees could be driven to commit suicide because of the abuse they receive in stadiums and social media, according to former Premier League official Mark Halsey.

Saturation coverage of every major incident in top flight games has put huge pressure on referees and Halsey fears some could reach breaking point.

“The game is in the gutter. A top referee is under scrutiny as never before,” Halsey, who once received vile abuse on Twitter, said in The Sun on Monday.

“While I am all for people being accountable, the ignorance of some of the criticism and the rise of social media, with its unmonitored vilification, makes it almost impossible to referee Premier League matches these days.

“There is no hiding place on the field and you have to be mentally tough. But it also follows you off the field more and more now and it can destroy you.”

“In my view, given some of the episodes of recent seasons, it will not be long before a referee has a nervous breakdown.

“I also believe that if we do not do something to help referees with mental health and stress issues, then we could even get a suicide.”

Germany has already seen an attempted suicide of a referee in 2011 when Babak Rafati was found in his hotel room having tried to take his own life before a match between Cologne and Mainz. He later admitted he had been suffering from depression.

Lions’ Bush escapes major knee injury

Running back Reggie Bush tweeted Monday morning with four thumbs-up icons. There wasn’t a football fan in Michigan that didn’t know what that meant.

Bush got positive news from the MRI on his left knee that was injured in the second quarter of the Detroit Lions’ 25-21 loss at Arizona on Sunday. There was no structural damage and Bush might play this week in Washington.

“The tests today were encouraging,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s going to be sore, but he doesn’t have anything that’s long-term.”

Bush was injured with 5:59 left in the second quarter after he was hit at the knees by the helmet of Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson. He walked off the field under his own power and was attended to by the doctors and training staff. He played one more snap in the first half and started the second half. But after fumbling on that play, he never returned.

Montoya to join Team Penske

Juan Pablo Montoya is returning to open-wheel racing next year to join Team Penske, it was announced Monday.

Montoya will drive the No. 2 car, the same one that AJ Allmendinger drove for part of this season.

“I am really excited to join this legendary team beginning next year,” Montoya said in a press release. “I have had the opportunity to drive for some of the best racing teams in the world and I have always admired Roger Penske and his organization. I consider it an honor to be offered the opportunity to drive for Team Penske.”

Montoya will be teammates with Helio Castroneves and Will Power.

Montoya, a former Indianapolis 500 champion and Formula 1 driver, is leaving Earnhardt Ganassi Racing at the end of the season. He spent six years in Formula 1, where he won seven races. Ganassi owned the car Montoya drove when he won Indy 500 in 2000, his only IndyCar start.

Before his move to Formula 1, Montoya won the 1999 CART championship in his first season on that circuit.

49ers DT Williams suffered broken ankle

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ian Williams will miss at least six weeks with a broken ankle. Williams was injured in the first quarter Sunday night at Seattle on a legal cut block that infuriated coach Jim Harbaugh and Williams’ teammates.

“I feel like that’s something the league should look into more,” said linebacker Patrick Willis. “You see some of that stuff, and it’s uncalled for. You have a guy who’s 300 pounds cutting a guy who’s 250 pounds. Do physics to that. Hit the man up high. It should be a good collision.”

Williams was making his first career start. He was replaced by sixth-year veteran Glenn Dorsey, a former first-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in his first season with the 49ers.

Willis believes the NFL should force blockers to hit up high “like rams. You don’t see a ram going and cutting another ram’s legs.”

“You’re not talking about a concussion and being out for two weeks,” Willis said. “You’re talking about being down for the rest of the season if you get hit good like that.”

Weeden injury might force Browns to start Campbell

BEREA, Ohio — Punishment inflicted on Brandon Weeden in the first two games of the season is starting to take a toll on the Cleveland Browns quarterback one month shy of his 30th birthday.

Weeden was knocked out of the game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday when he banged his thumb on the helmet of left guard John Greco late in the fourth quarter. Weeden has been sacked 11 times and hit a total of 28 times during the Browns’ 0-2 start.

Coach Rob Chudzinski said he is leaving his options open whether to start Jason Campbell or Brian Hoyer against the Vikings this Sunday if Weeden cannot play. Chudzinski said he won’t know until later whether Weeden can practice Wednesday.

Campbell played the final series against the Ravens. He was faced with a near-impossible situation when he entered the game with 3:34 remaining. He took over at the Browns’ 1-yard line with no timeouts left and Cleveland trailing, 14-6. After a pass interference gave the Browns some breathing room at the Cleveland 22, Campbell threw three incomplete passes under a heavy rush. An underhand toss to Jordan Cameron on fourth-and-10 gained six yards.

Weeden is wearing a black brace on his right hand to support his thumb, and said he could not put pressure on the ball. X-rays were negative.

Campbell and Hoyer are taking the approach all backup quarterbacks take; they are preparing like the starter just in case Weeden won’t play.

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