No comment on Brady injury
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady skipped part of practice on Thursday, but coach Bill Belichick would not comment on whether it was because of a possible ankle injury. The National Football League Most Valuable Player, who is preparing to lead the Patriots into Super Bowl XXXXII against the New York Giants on Feb. 3, was photographed on Monday wearing a cast-like walking boot while outside the New York apartment of his supermodel girlfriend, Gisele Bundchen. He was then seen on Monday night and Tuesday walking without the boot. Various reports have said the injury is a mild high ankle sprain, but Belichick declined to confirm that. "I don't have any comment on it," he said. Brady himself said on his weekly radio show on Monday morning that he would "have to be on a stretcher" to miss the Super Bowl.
Loeb leads in Monte Carlo
Four-time world champion Sebastien Loeb of France took the lead on Thursday at the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally. Loeb, who is looking for a record fifth Monte Carlo title, won the second stage and moved to a 12.7 second lead over Citroen teammate Dani Sordo. The Frenchman, quoted on the World Rally Championship's Web site, said he gingerly negotiated icy conditions in the first stage that was won by Sordo. Sordo's car lost two light pods when it hit a hay bale in the first stage and he struggled to see without his headlights during the second. "It was very difficult for me to get a good feeling in there," Sordo said. "The visibility was bad and the cars ahead had pulled some dirt onto the road, making it very slippery in places."
Greipel wins fourth stage
Germany's Andre Greipel won the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under cycling race when he overpowered the field in oppressive conditions at the end of the 134km route yesterday. Australian Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) finished second to retain the ochre leader's jersey on an eventful stage from Mannum to Strathalbyn in South Australia. Italian Elio Rigotto (Team Milram) was disqualified after he brought down Mathew Hayman in the finishing sprint. The Australian crashed heavily and fractured his left collar bone after Rigotto lifted his head into the Rabobank rider's elbow and knocked him off his bike.
Barca held, Racing win
Barcelona were held to a 0-0 stalemate by Villarreal in their Spanish Cup quarter-final first leg clash on Thursday. Barca, who trail bitter rivals Real Madrid by seven points in the race for La Liga title, have not won the Spanish Cup for 10 years and will need to score in the return leg next week if they are to keep up their hopes of ending that streak. Racing Santander put one foot in the semi-finals after beating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 with goals coming from Congo striker Mohammed Tchite and Ebi Smolarek in a three-minute period late in the second half.
Lazio win first leg of tie
Lazio scored two quick goals and beat Fiorentina 2-1 on Thursday in the first leg of the Italian Cup quarter-finals. Aleksander Kolarov and Valon Behrami scored within a minute of each other to put Lazio up 2-0 by the 21st minute and Giampaolo Pazzini replied for Fiorentina in the 40th minute.