’Bok lock Etzebeth banned
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has been banned for two weeks for a headbutt and will miss Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks. The 20-year-old was found guilty of headbutting veteran Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe in the first half of their 26-19 defeat in Australia last weekend. SANZAR judicial officer Nigel Hampton found it was a deliberate attack and suspended Etzebeth for two weeks. Etzebeth will be able to play again from Sept. 25, making him available for South Africa’s home Tests against the Wallabies and the All Blacks. Meanwhile, the Springboks faced front row problems as well in their buildup to Saturday’s Test in Dunedin, with both tighthead props injured. Jannie du Plessis has a hamstring problem and Pat Cilliers has ligament damage to an elbow. A decision would be made yesterday whether a replacement would be flown to New Zealand.
Jackson, Nelson injured
Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson is out indefinitely and wide receiver David Nelson is to miss the rest of the National Football League (NFL) season with knee injuries, the team said on Monday. The loss of the two players, who were injured in Buffalo’s 48-28 season-opening blowout loss to their division rival New York Jets on Sunday, is a major blow to a Bills team that started the campaign with hopes of snapping a 12-year playoff drought. Jackson, who was injured early in the second quarter on a hard hit by New York’s LaRon Landry, had an MRI on Monday that was inconclusive, according to a report on the team’s Web site. He is to be sidelined for at least a week to 10 days before being re-evaluated to determine a timetable for his return. Nelson, the team’s second-leading receiver in last year’s NFL season with 658 yards and five touchdowns, was injured when he went down to the ground away from the play during the fourth quarter.
Vilma out with injury
New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma, recently reinstated after being banned over the Saints’ “bounty” scandal, is to miss at least six weeks after being placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Monday. Vilma is recovering from off-season knee surgery. Although he will be eligible to return in the NFL’s week six, that’s when the Saints will have their bye week. League rules allow Vilma to take part in team meetings and use the Saints’ training and medical facilities, but he cannot practice with the team while on the PUP list. On Friday, Vilma had a season-long suspension overturned by a three-member appeals panel, which ruled that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell does not have authority to punish players for any salary-cap violations committed in the bounty scheme, in which the league says Saints players were paid cash bonuses for injuring opponents.
Browns’ Haden suspended
Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden has been suspended for four games for violating NFL policy on performance enhancing substances, the team said on Monday. No specific detail was given as to which element of the NFL’s policy was breached by Haden, a first-round draft pick by Cleveland in 2010. Haden, whose ban begins immediately, made six tackles and one interception in Cleveland’s 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the team’s season-opening game on Sunday.