Number of players placed on IR is way up

Saturday, January 29, 2011; D02

According to the report by the NFL Players Association, the number of players placed on teams' injured reserve lists increased from 250 during the 2009 season to more than 350 this season.

According to the NFL, 464 players were placed on teams' IR lists between the beginning of the league year last March and the end of the regular season. That's up from an annual average of 420.3 over the last four years, according to the league. But the league continued to maintain that IR moves are made for a variety of reasons, reducing the list's reliability as a barometer for the injury rate.

The union's study says that nearly 6 percent of players suffered at least one concussion this season, up from 4 percent in the 2009 season. The study concluded that the number of players suffering season-long injuries was at an all-time high this season, although the union indicated that the data studied went back only to 2002.

Players have cited concerns about injuries as a key factor in their wariness about the league's proposal to increase the regular season from 16 to 18 games per team. The league has made that proposal as part of the two sides' ongoing labor negotiations.

- Mark Maske


The U.S. Soccer Federation is monitoring civil unrest in Egypt, but at this time, plans to send the men's national team to Cairo for a Feb. 9 friendly.

Federation officials discussed the situation Thursday night, spokesman Neil Bu ethe said Friday, and they are in regular communication with the State Department - as they always are before an international trip - and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

"As of now, we are still planning to play the match," Buethe said. "We will continue to monitor the situation closely. We are receiving daily updates."

The U.S. roster, with players based primarily in Europe, is slated to be unveiled in the middle to late next week. Players would begin arriving in Cairo on Feb. 6.

- Steven Goff

Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt says American midfielder Ricardo Clark will be sidelined four weeks after fracturing his left cheekbone. . . .

Houston is switching to Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference this season as the league realigns to make room for expansion Portland and Vancouver.


Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement that five of the 13 football players hospitalized this week with a muscle disorder following grueling offseason workouts are being discharged. The coach hasn't spoken to reporters since the school announced Tuesday that the players had been hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, a stress-induced syndrome that can damage cells and cause kidney problems. . . .

Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema's contract has been extended through Jan. 31, 2016 after he led the Badgers to their first Rose Bowl since 2000.


Catholic University will honor members of its 2001 Division III men's basketball national championship team at halftime of its home game against Juniata on Saturday at 4 p.m. The event is part of the program's 100th anniversary season. Pat Maloney, most outstanding player of the 2001 Final Four, is expected to attend, as is Bill Leahy, the all-time leading rebounder in school history, and John Winkler, the program's third-leading scorer.


Deresse Mekonnen won the Wanamaker Mile at Madison Square Garden in New York, becoming the first person other than Bernard Lagat to win the Millrose Games's marquee event since 2004.

The 23-year-old from Ethiopia finished in 3 minutes 58.58 seconds Friday night, holding off Lagat's challenges in the final two laps. Mekonnen, the two-time defending world indoor 1,500-meter champion, had to pull out of the Millrose Games last year when Lagat won a record eighth Wanamaker Mile - and sixth in a row - because of visa problems. . . .

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador plans to appeal any suspension for his failed doping test at cycling's showcase race.

"I will defend my innocence until the end," the three-time Tour champion said two days after Spanish cycling officials proposed a one-year ban for his positive clenbuterol test.

Contador, 28, blames the result on eating contaminated meat. The Spanish cycling federation accepted that defense and recommended a reduced ban rather than the standard two years. He also would be stripped of the 2010 Tour title.

- From news services and staff reports

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