University of Miami running back Willis McGahee had surgery yesterday on two torn ligaments in his left knee following a crushing hit during his team's Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State.

The all-American sophomore was operated on for more than four hours at HealthSouth Doctors Hospital, next to the campus, school spokesman Doug Walker said.

John Uribe, who performed the surgery, declined to set a timetable for McGahee's return.

"Willis tolerated the procedure very well," Uribe said in a statement. "If nature does his job and rehabilitation goes well, he should be able to make a full recovery."

Doctors found torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments but no tear to the posterior collateral ligament.

Assistant coach Don Soldinger said Saturday that McGahee had torn all three ligaments.

McGahee was injured early in the fourth quarter of Friday's game, a 31-24 double overtime victory by Ohio State for the national championship.

He took a screen pass from Ken Dorsey on third and 10 from the Ohio State 35 and was hit by Will Allen for a two-yard loss. McGahee had to be helped from the field. He was in severe pain much of the night, coaches said.

McGahee ran for a school-record 1,686 yards and 27 touchdowns this season and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, won by Southern California's Carson Palmer.

Pro Football

Rams Dismiss Assistants

The St. Louis Rams dismissed linebackers coach Mike Haluchak and secondary coach Carlos Mainord.

The defending NFC champions failed to make the playoffs after a 7-9 season.

"You could just say they were released," Rams spokesman Rick Smith said Saturday night.

Haluchak, who replaced John Bunting after the Rams' 1999 Super Bowl season, watched the linebackers struggle this season.

Free agent pickup Jamie Duncan was a disappointment at middle linebacker, and Tommy Polley, one of the club's top defenders, missed four games with groin and ankle injuries.

Mainord's unit underachieved despite the experience of free safety Kim Herring, cornerback Dre Bly and cornerback-safety Dexter McCleon.


Dodgers Sale Possible

Rupert Murdoch might put the Los Angeles Dodgers up for sale within the next six months, an Australian newspaper reported on its Web site.

Murdoch's News Corp. would sell the Dodgers to raise cash before bidding on the satellite television service DirecTV, the Age reported, citing unnamed Wall Street analysts.

A Dodgers spokesman acknowledged the team could be sold if the right offer surfaced.

"As we've said with previous rumors about our organization being for sale, naturally they would do so, if the right buyer and the right price came along," said Derrick Hall, a senior vice president with the team. "However, there has been absolutely no indication that a sale is imminent."


Sherrod Retiring

Sports writer and columnist Blackie Sherrod is retiring from the Dallas Morning News after nearly 60 years in journalism.

Sherrod, 83, disclosed his plans in his final column Thursday.

"I've had a job for 72 years, since I was 11 years old," he said Friday. "I've been working long enough."

Sherrod is a 16-time winner of the Texas Sportswriter of the Year Award and a recipient of the national Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement.


Tata Open to Srichaphan

No. 2 seed Paradorn Srichaphan won his third ATP title, beating Karol Kucera, 6-3, 6-1, in the final of the Tata Open in Madras, India.

Srichaphan, who moved from No. 126th to 16th in the rankings after reaching four finals and winning titles in Long Island and Stockholm last season, lost to Guillermo Canas of Argentina in last year's final.


Liverpool Wins, 1-0

In England's FA Cup, Liverpool rebounded from its poor Premier League form with a hard-earned 1-0 win over Manchester City; cup holder Arsenal beat Oxford United, 2-0; and Manchester United topped division one leader Portsmouth, 4-1, in the third round.