The Carolina Panthers placed Stephen Davis on injured reserve yesterday, their third running back to be lost for the season.

Davis has played in just two games this season after arthroscopic surgery Sept. 17 to clean out torn cartilage from his knee. He's tried to get back on the field several times since, but his knee would swell after every practice.

He now joins backup running back DeShaun Foster (broken collarbone) and third-stringer Rod Smart (knee) on the injured list. In all, Carolina (1-7) has 11 players out for the year.

But they've been hardest hit in the backfield, where rookie Joey Harris started last week after beginning the season on the practice squad. But he pulled his hamstring on Friday and is questionable for today's game against San Francisco.

Carolina signed former 49ers running back Jamal Robertson yesterday.

* WINTER SPORTS: KC Boutiette, Chad Hedrick and Derek Parra of the United States set an unofficial world record in the team pursuit at the World Cup speedskating season opener in Hamar, Norway.

Skating on the Viking Ship oval built for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, the American trio covered the eight laps in 3 minutes 48.56 seconds.

The record will be ratified by international skating authorities at the end of the season. . . .

Germany's Anke Wischnewski won the luge World Cup season opener in wind and snow in Altenberg, Germany, for her first victory on the circuit.

Wischnewski finished her two heats in 1:50.009, beating world champion and countrywoman Silke Kraushaar (1:50.366) and Austria's Nina Reithmayer (1:50.813).

In men's doubles, Austria's Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger won in 1:28.002, beating Italians Christian Oberstolz and Patric Gruber (1:28.216). . . .

Irina Slutskaya won the Cup of China in Beijing in her return to figure skating after an extended break because of illness.

Jeffrey Buttle of Canada won the men's title, easily holding his lead from the short program with a seemingly effortless free skate. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the United States captured the ice dancing.

The top American woman in Beijing was Angela Nikodinov, who finished eighth.

* TENNIS: Lindsay Davenport rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Serena Williams in the WTA Championships in Los Angeles, although her No. 1 ranking is in jeopardy after she failed to reach the semifinals.

Davenport owns a 351-point lead over No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo, who could regain the top spot if she wins the tournament.

Mauresmo defeated Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, 7-5, 6-4, to extend her 11-match winning streak.

Davenport was knocked out when French Open champion Anastasia Myskina beat Elena Dementieva, 6-3, 6-3.

Davenport and Myskina finished round robin play in the Red Group with 2-1 match records. The deciding factor was Myskina's 5-2 record in sets won; Davenport was 4-3.

Despite her loss, Williams advanced with a 2-1 match record in the Red Group.

Mauresmo and Sharapova advanced to the semifinals out of the Black Group. Mauresmo had a 3-0 record; Sharapova was 2-1.

In today's semifinals, Mauresmo will play Williams and Myskina takes on Sharapova.

* SOCCER: Carlos Ruiz led Guatemala to a 1-0 win over Bolivia in an international exhibition at RFK Stadium. Ruiz, who plays for Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, scored in the 20th minute.

* COLLEGE FIELD HOCKEY: Maryland sophomore Paula Infante scored an NCAA tournament-record five goals, leading the Terrapins field hockey team to a 5-2 win over No. 14 Delaware in a first-round game in College Park. The Terps will host American, a 2-1 winner over Iowa, today at 2 p.m.

* COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Brown senior guard Jason Forte (The Heights), last season's Ivy League player of the year, was suspended indefinitely for "behavior detrimental to the team."

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports

Stephen Davis, above, is the third running back for Carolina who is out for the season. He joins DeShaun Foster and Rod Smart on the injured reserve list.