National Sports Briefs

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 29, 2008

Associated PressCHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers got an experienced backup for starting quarterback Jake Delhomme on Friday when they acquired veteran Josh McCown from Miami for a 2009 late-round draft pick.
Delhomme, who is returning from ligament-replacement surgery in his right elbow, has recovered well and is scheduled to start the season opener at San Diego on Sept. 7. But behind him in the preseason were Matt Moore, who started the final three games last year as an undrafted rookie, and Brett Basanez, who has played in just one NFL game.
The trade came one day after Moore injured his left leg in the final preseason game at Pittsburgh. Tests showed Moore did not break any bones or suffer ligament damage, and general manager Marty Hurney said the trade was not in response to the injury.
“Josh is a guy that we’ve liked for the last several years when he was in unrestricted free agency,” Hurney said. “He’s got a good arm. We thought he would be a good fit for us.”
– MINNEAPOLIS ó The NFL suspended Minnesota left tackle Bryant McKinnie for four games without pay Friday for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, a blow to the protection of Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson’s blind side.
McKinnie has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a street brawl outside a Miami nightclub in February. He will be eligible to return to the Vikings’ active roster following the team’s Sept. 28 game against Tennessee.
– HOUSTON ó The Houston Texans released veteran linebacker Rosevelt Colvin and 20 other players Friday, the day before NFL teams must set their 53-man rosters. The Texans signed Colvin in June after he was released by New England.
NEW YORK ó The New York Knicks acquired Patrick Ewing Jr. in a trade with the Houston Rockets on Friday.
New York sent the draft rights for center Frederic Weis to Houston in exchange for the son of former superstar Patrick Ewing, who played for the Knicks from 1985-2000.
NEW YORK ó Roger Federer flicked a final winner, trotted to the net and started to shake hands. Then, there was one last challenge. Playfully, Thiago Alves called for a replay review.
So the man trying for his fifth straight U.S. Open title and an overmatched qualifier shared a laugh, watching together as the giant scoreboards above Arthur Ashe Stadium confirmed the call: The ball landed squarely on the line, Federer had won 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 Friday.
On the women’s side, it’s shaping up as even more of a scramble.
A day after No. 1 Ana Ivanovic lost to 188th-ranked Julie Coin, third-seeded Svetlana Kutznetsova became the latest upset victim when Katarina Srebotnik beat her 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-3.
FONTANA, Calif. ó Aiming to build some momentum heading into NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson got off to a good start Friday, winning the pole at Auto Club Speedway.
The two-time reigning Cup champion was easily the fastest driver on the 2-mile oval in qualifying for Sunday’s Pepsi 500, turning a fast lap of 180.397 mph.
“I’m really very proud of that lap,” said Johnson, the defending race winner.
For much of the session, it appeared that the front row would be all Hendrick Motorsports, with Jeff Gordon sitting in the second spot with a lap of 179.565. But A.J. Allmendinger, one of nine drivers who had to qualify on speed, elbowed his way between the teammates with a lap of 179.659.
Kasey Kahne was fourth at 179.158, followed by Gillett Evernham Motorsports teammates Patrick Carpentier at 178.860 and Elliott Sadler at 178.492. Rounding out the top 10 were Martin Truex Jr. at 178.434, Dave Blaney at 178.381, Kurt Busch at 178.165 and rookie Aric Almirola at 178.134.
For Johnson, it was his first pole at the Southern California track, but the series-leading fourth of the season and the 17th of his career.