PATS’ GRONKOWSKI TO HAVE SURGERY, SEASON LIKELY OVER
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.
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.
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.
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.