• Bears QB remains sidelined: Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler missed practice on Thursday and his playing status remains in question because of a concussion. Coach Lovie Smith said Cutler continues to improve, but it’s not clear if he’ll be ready to play at San Francisco on Monday night. If Cutler can’t play, Jason Campbell will likely start. The Bears believe Cutler was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Houston’s Tim Dobbins late in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss. He finished the half but sat out the final two quarters after showing symptoms in the locker room at the break.
• 49ers’ Harbaugh has heart procedure: San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was sent to the hospital Thursday for a “minor procedure" after doctors discovered he had an irregular heartbeat. The team said it anticipates Harbaugh will be back at the 49ers facility Friday, though it’s unclear in what capacity. No details about the procedure were given.
• Jets owner says he’s disappointed: Woody Johnson expects the New York Jets to turn things around — and fast. A 3-6 start has the owner just as disappointed as the fans, who were expecting a lot more this season from Rex Ryan’s team. “The record says what’s going on," Johnson said during practice Thursday. “We’re a 3-6 team. Are we happy? Are they happy? Are the players happy? I know the fans aren’t happy. The answer is no. We’re not happy. We’re not happy with 3-6. ... I didn’t sign up for a 3-6 season. We haven’t had one of these in a while. I’m not happy about it, yet I am optimistic that some of these things can be corrected."
• ACC, ESPN reach 12-year deal on Orange Bowl: The Atlantic Coast Conference has agreed to a 12-year deal with ESPN for the rights to televise the Orange Bowl, with the conference champion facing either Notre Dame or a team from the Big Ten or SEC. The deal announced Thursday begins with the 2014 season and runs through 2026. ESPN.com has previously reported that the network will pay about $55 million per year for the game. Under the new deal, the Orange Bowl will be played either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. ESPN has similar 12-year deals for the rights to the Sugar Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC) and the Rose Bowl (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten).
• Abuse claim leads to suspension from Hall of Fame: Former doubles champion Bob Hewitt has been suspended from the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport after an investigation into allegations that he sexually abused girls he coached, and his legacy has been stripped from the institution, officials announced Thursday. Hall of Fame CEO Mark Stenning told The Associated Press that the Hall’s executive committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to suspend Hewitt indefinitely after an outside investigation deemed credible the allegations of multiple women who said they were abused by Hewitt while he was coaching them decades ago. The Australian-born Hewitt won several Grand Slam events during his career in the 1960s and 1970s and was inducted into the Hall in 1992. No one has ever been suspended or expelled from the Hall.
• Hope fading for deal to save NHL season: Negotiations had already hit a wall in the ongoing hockey labor fight, and now the NHL has suggested the sides take an official two-week break before getting back to the bargaining table. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman floated the idea of a break to players’ association executive director Donald Fehr. The union hasn’t responded to the league yet, but the players maintained their position on Thursday night that they are ready and willing to meet at any time, and the only way to reach a deal to end the long lockout is to keep talking and negotiating.
—From wire reports