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Sports Briefs

- - Monday, October 24, 2011

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Taylor's loss another blow to Virginia Tech's defense

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The setbacks just keep on coming for No. 15 Virginia Tech's defense.

The latest is perhaps the one the Hokies can least afford: Leading tackler Bruce Taylor needs foot surgery and will miss the rest of the season after being injured against Boston College.

Taylor, a junior, is the fourth defensive player - and third starter - the Hokies (7-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost for the season because of an injury.

Defensive lineman Antoine Hopkins (knee) and linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot) also were starters, and reserve defensive lineman Kwamaine Battle (knee) also is out for the year.

The loss of Taylor is especially costly for the Hokies. He's not only been their leading tackler for the past two seasons, but also calls the plays for the defense.

AUTO RACING

Making sport safer at heart of driver meetings

INDIANAPOLIS — IndyCar drivers and officials debated how to make open-wheel racing safer Monday. Now comes the hard part: turning talk into action.

More than a dozen IndyCar drivers met for three hours with series CEO Randy Bernard and Brian Barnhart, the series' president of competition, about preventing another fatal accident.

The meeting came eight days after two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed in a fiery, 15-car crash in the season finale at Las Vegas and less than 48 hours after he was buried in his adopted hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla.

"How we react to this is critical, and we're very encouraged with what happened today in terms of ideas," four-time IndyCar champ Dario Franchitti said. "Finger-pointing is not going to do any good at all, and we're all unified going forward in one direction."

BASEBALL

Thome intent on playing in 2012

CLEVELAND — Jim Thome intends to keep moving up baseball's home run list. The 41-year-old slugger on Monday became the first ballplayer to address the City Club of Cleveland since Babe Ruth in 1925 and said he still has the passion to play.

Whether or not that is with the Indians or another team will be determined when impending free agents become eligible to start negotiations five days after the end of the World Series. Thome is eighth all time in home runs with 604.

HOCKEY

Penguins' Michalek sidelined with broken finger

PITTSBURGH — Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek is out four to six weeks after breaking his finger in right hand. Michalek sustained the injury in the third period of a 4-1 win over New Jersey on Saturday when he dived to block a slap shot by New Jersey's Rod Pelley.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Xavier's Holloway must sit out opener for violation

CINCINNATI — Senior point guard Tu Holloway will sit out Xavier's season opener for a secondary violation of NCAA rules limiting summer league games. Holloway, the reigning Atlantic 10 player of the year, participated in too many summer league games, a violation that was reported to the NCAA. He'll miss the opener on Nov. 11 at Morgan State.

From wire dispatches and staff reports