Coach returns to Colts — Chuck Pagano was so eager to get back to work Monday, he was the first one to show up at team headquarters. Long before meeting with his players, the Indianapolis Colts’ first-year coach drove quietly into the complex, walked into the office where the lights have remained on for nearly three months and began preparing for Sunday’s game against AFC South champion Houston like it was another at the day office. Hardly. It was the biggest milestone yet in an incredibly emotional season in which Pagano has beaten leukemia and the Colts have been a most pleasant surprise in reaching the playoffs under interim coach Bruce Arians. “I asked him if he would ... take over the reins and what a masterful, masterful job you did Bruce," Pagano said with Arians nearby at the news conference. “You carried the torch and all you went out and did was win ballgames, you got our 10th win yesterday and you got us into the playoffs and you did it with dignity and you did it with class. I can’t thank you enough."
49ers’ Manningham out for season — As it turned out, the San Francisco 49ers’ blowout loss in Seattle was even worse than it looked. Receiver Mario Manningham will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, according to ESPN. Reporter Adam Schefter reported via Twitter on Monday night that Manningham sustained a torn ACL and PCL in his left knee during a 42-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Manningham was the team’s second-leading receiver, with 42 receptions, and third in receiving yards, with 449.
Steelers TE tears ligaments — Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller sustained multiple torn ligaments in his right knee during the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Miller, a prime candidate for the Pro Bowl and team MVP, tore anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments on Sunday. He also has a possible tear in his posterior cruciate ligament. Typical recovery time would extend well into next season’s training camp.
Eagles’ Foles breaks hand —Philadelphia Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles has a broken right hand, and coach Andy Reid says Michael Vick will likely start against the New York Giants in Sunday’s season finale. Reid said Monday that Foles broke his throwing hand in the second quarter of a 27-20 loss to Washington, but returned to the game after X-rays at the stadium were negative. Vick hasn’t played since suffering a concussion during a loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 11. He was recently cleared to return. The Eagles (4-11) went 1-5 with Foles as the starter.
Razorbacks get UW assistant — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema says Washington running backs coach Joel Thomas will join the Razorbacks in the same position. Thomas has spent the past four seasons at Washington and has previously coached running backs at Purdue, Louisville and Idaho. Bielema says Thomas’ background in recruiting — particularly in Texas — is a strong draw for the Razorbacks.
SMU takes Hawaii Bowl — SMU coach June Jones walked out of Aloha Stadium with another win Saturday, thanks largely to a disruptive performance by defensive end Margus Hunt that set the tone for the Mustangs’ 43-10 win over Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. Hunt forced two fumbles that led to field goals and sacked Derek Carr for a safety as SMU (7-6) built a 22-0 halftime lead and never looked back against the Bulldogs (9-4). Jones now has won 10 straight games in Aloha Stadium, dating to a December 2006 loss to Oregon State.
Cousins back for Kings — The Sacramento Kings have reinstated center DeMarcus Cousins after a one-game suspension for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team." Cousins practiced with the Kings on Monday. Cousins and Kings coach Keith Smart exchanged words in the locker room during halftime of Sacramento’s loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. Smart benched Cousins for the entire second half and ordered him to remain in the locker room. The 22-year-old Cousins has been suspended two other times by the NBA this season because of his conduct. He was not with Sacramento during the team’s 108-96 home win against Portland on Sunday night. Cousins is averaging a team-high 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Blue Devils at No. 1 — Duke and Michigan remain the top two teams in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll, while Syracuse dropped from third to ninth after its first loss. The Blue Devils received all but two of the first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel. Michigan got the others. Arizona, Louisville and Indiana all moved up one place to third through fifth. Kansas, which won at Ohio State, moved from ninth to sixth. Pittsburgh and Kansas State are the newcomers to the poll at 24th and 25th. They replace New Mexico and North Carolina, which dropped out from 16th and 23rd after losses to South Dakota State and Texas.
Cardinal still on top — Stanford remains No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll for the sixth straight week, matching the team’s longest run in the top spot. The Cardinal had 24 first-place votes Monday, while Connecticut received 14. Baylor got the other two. UConn will visit Stanford on Saturday, trying to snap the Cardinal’s 82-game home winning streak. Stanford, which beat South Carolina and Tennessee on the road last week, was No. 1 for six weeks in 1996. Duke and Notre Dame round out the first five.
— From wire reports