PATS’ GRONKOWSKI TO HAVE SURGERY, SEA­SON LIKELY OVER

The Denver Post - - SPORTS | OFF & RUNNING -

foxborough, mass.» Rob Gronkowski’s sea­son is likely over.

The New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots tight end was sched­uled to have surgery Fri­day for a her­ni­ated disk in his lower back, the team said in a state­ment Thurs­day night.

The team said it doesn’t ex­pect Gronkowski to be able to re­turn this sea­son, but will await the re­sults of the surgery be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion. The Su­per Bowl is Feb. 5, should the Pa­tri­ots get that far.

Gronkowski sat out prac­tice Wed­nes­day with what listed as a back in­jury. He was ab­sent from prac­tice again Thurs­day.

• NFL ex­ec­u­tive Troy Vin­cent told The As­so­ci­ated Press the league is re-eval­u­at­ing its sched­ul­ing process in a bid to avoid the short turn­around of hav­ing teams play­ing on Sun­day night and then travel to play on Thurs­day.

Vin­cent says the league prefers that both teams play­ing Thurs­day would be sched­uled to play early Sun­day af­ter­noon games the pre­vi­ous week­end.

• Chicago quar­ter­back Jay Cut­ler will have sea­son-end­ing surgery Satur­day on his right shoul­der, the lat­est blow in a lost sea­son for the Bears.

• For­mer NFL player Joe McKnight, 28, who played for the Jets and Chiefs, was shot to death fol­low­ing an ar­gu­ment at an in­ter­sec­tion with an­other mo­torist in Ter­ry­town, a sub­urb of New Or­leans.

• Chiefs de­fen­sive line­man Jaye Howard was put on in­jured re­serve with a hip in­jury.

Cy­clones up­set.

Ja­cob Evans III made two free throws with 20 sec­onds left in over­time and Cincin­nati up­set No. 19 Iowa State 55-54 and hand the Cy­clones’ their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive loss and hand them their first non­con­fer­ence home loss in 38 games.

• Josh Perkins and Si­las Mel­son had 15 points apiece as No. 8 Gon­zaga re­mained un­de­feated and kept Mis­sis­sippi Val­ley State win­less with a 97-63 vic­tory.

• PJ Dozier had a ca­reer-high 21 points and No. 20 South Carolina im­proved to 7-0 for a sec­ond straight sea­son with a 68-50 win over Ver­mont.

• Chris Chiozza had 16 points and nine as­sists, and Justin Leon added 13 points as No. 24 Florida han­dled North Florida 91-60.

NAS­CAR changes spon­sor.

NAS­CAR an­nounced Mon­ster En­ergy will take over as ti­tle spon­sor of its top se­ries in 2017, end­ing a lengthy process of find­ing a re­place­ment for Sprint.

It was not im­me­di­ately an­nounced what the Mon­ster Bev­er­age Cor­po­ra­tion will pay for the nam­ing rights deal or how long the agree­ment runs.

• Four-time NAS­CAR cham­pion Jeff Gor­don, who re­tired af­ter the 2015 sea­son, will drive in the Rolex 24 at Day­tona for the first time in a decade. Gor­don will drive in the twicearound-the-clock en­durance race next month for Wayne Tay­lor Rac­ing.

James wins SI award.

LeBron James was cho­sen Sports Il­lus­trated’s Sportsper­son of the Year, join­ing Tiger Woods as the award’s only twotime win­ners since its in­cep­tion in 1954.

Cards-Braves trade.

St. Louis traded left-han­der Jaime Gar­cia to At­lanta Braves for a trio of prospects, in­clud­ing sec­ond base­man Luke Dyk­stra, the son of for­mer all-star Lenny Dyk­stra. The Car­di­nals also got righthanders John Gant and Chris El­lis.

• Right-han­der Edin­son Volquez fi­nal­ized a $22 mil­lion, two-year con­tract with the Mi­ami Marlins af­ter pass­ing his phys­i­cal.

Foot­notes.

FC Dallas coach Os­car Pareja beat out Rapids coach Pablo Mas­troeni in MLS coach of the year vot­ing. Mas­troeni earned 32.97 per­cent of the vote, fin­ish­ing be­hind who got 34.44 per­cent. The award was voted on by the me­dia, play­ers, coaches and front of­fice staff. … In­di­ana foot­ball coach Kevin Wil­son re­signed less than a week af­ter the Hoosiers be­came bowl-el­i­gi­ble for the sec­ond straight sea­son.

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