• Donovan ruled out of World Cup qualifiers: Landon Donovan will not play for the U.S. national team in two upcoming World Cup qualifiers because of an injured left knee. U.S. Soccer announced the decision Tuesday, hours after coach Jurgen Klinsmann said the team was “very, very positive" that Donovan would be available for the games — Friday against Antigua and Barbuda, then Oct. 16 against Guatemala. Donovan, the leading scorer in U.S. national team history, is not expected to be replaced on the roster. The severity of Donovan’s injury is unclear. U.S. Soccer said he will return to Los Angeles for further evaluation. Donovan was hurt Saturday while playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Also ruled out for the qualifiers is Brek Shea because of an abdominal injury.
• Commissioner re-issues bounty discipline: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handed down new discipline to four players in connection with the NFL’s bounty investigation of the Saints. There are no changes to the full-season suspension for New Orleans’ linebacker Jon Vilma or the four-game suspension for Saints defensive end Will Smith. The suspension of free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was reduced from eight to seven games, while Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita is now docked one game, down from three. Only Smith and Fujita have played this season since an appeal panel created by the NFL’s labor agreement vacated the original suspensions on technical grounds and told Goodell he needed to clarify the basis of the punishment. Vilma has been rehabilitating from offseason knee surgery. The players also can delay the suspensions by appealing again.
• Texans LB Cushing out for season: Linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn left knee ligament, leaving the unbeaten Houston Texans without their top tackler and one of their emotional leaders. Cushing was hurt in the second quarter of the Texans’ 23-17 win over the New York Jets on a low block by guard Matt Slauson. Cushing walked off the field on his own, but didn’t return. Coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday that Cushing has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will need surgery in two to three weeks, after the swelling subsides. Cushing was leading Houston in tackles (38) before Monday night’s game. “A big blow for our team," Kubiak said. “We have to have guys pick it up around him and we’ve got to find a way to move forward. We’re all just disappointed for him. It’s a tough day for him."
• QB leaving TCU, to enter in-patient rehab: Suspended TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is leaving school for the rest of the semester and enrolling at an in-patient rehabilitation facility. Coach Gary Patterson made the announcement Tuesday, five days after the junior starter was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving near campus. That came eight months after Pachall admitted to police that he smoked marijuana and failed a team-administered drug test. Redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin threw for 270 yards and had three interceptions Saturday as Iowa State beat TCU 37-23.
• Redskins’ Griffin expected to practice: Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is expected to participate in the Washington Redskins’ practice today, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday. Griffin has been given clearance to participate in the practice, barring a setback, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the matter publicly. Griffin is following the NFL-mandated testing procedures after suffering a concussion during Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons at FedEx Field.Participating in today’s practice would not guarantee that Griffin would play in Sunday’s game at home against the Minnesota Vikings.
• Injured Nadal hopes to resume practice soon: Rafael Nadal is eager to trade in his backstroke for his backhand. Swimming as part of his rehabilitation from a left knee injury, Nadal said he has been more encouraged recently about his progress and hopes to resume practice soon. He didn’t rule out playing next month in the ATP World Tour Finals or Davis Cup final, but added that such a quick return would be difficult. “I don’t want to put any goals to play a tournament," Nadal said Tuesday. “I want to go day by day. I go every day to the gym and the swimming pool to continue with my recovery. I am trying to not think that far." Nadal spoke from his home in Mallorca during a conference call to promote his participation in an exhibition in New York in March. He has also said he’ll enter an exhibition in Abu Dhabi in late December. The 11-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played since losing in the second round of Wimbledon in June.
—From wire reports