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Sports briefs

NFL

BLEDSOE TO MISS 3 GAMES: Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe expects to miss at least three games after being released from a hospital following a hit that caused bleeding in his chest cavity.

EPHEDRINE BANNED: The NFL has banned the stimulant ephedrine after being told by experts that the substance often found in strength-building food supplements can cause seizures, strokes and even death.

The ban will be part of the league's anti-steroid policy, which means that players will be subject to year-round random testing for the substances.

But commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the testing won't begin until further consultations with the NFL Players Association, which has approved the ban but not the timing.

NBA

LAKERS SIGN FORWARDS: The Lakers signed forwards Dennis Scott and Paul Shirley. Scott holds NBA records for most 3-pointers made in a season (267) and a game (11). Shirley was an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State.

DREXLER TO AID NUGGETS: Former NBA great Clyde Drexler will join the Nuggets as an aide to general manager Kiki Vandeweghe.

Golf

TEXAS OPEN: Facing the prospect of returning to qualifying school yet again, Marco Dawson shot a 7-under-par 64 to grab the first-round lead in the Texas Open in San Antonio.

Defending champion Justin Leonard and Jay Williamson were a shot off the lead, while Scott McCarron, Carl Paulson, Bob Burns and Brandel Chamblee were 5 under.

Even with the Ryder Cup matches postponed until next year, the tournament drew just a handful of the game's biggest names and only three Ryder Cup players: Sweden's Jesper Parnevik and Americans David Toms and Hal Sutton. Parnevik led the trio with a 67, while Sutton had a 69 and Toms a 74.

AFLAC CHAMPIONS: South Korea's Mi Hyun Kim, seeking her fourth LPGA Tour victory, shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the AFLAC Champions.

Dottie Pepper was second after a 67.

The elite 40-player field is made up of tournament winners from 1999-01 and active Hall of Famers. Annika Sorenstam, the tour leader with six victories and $1,666,306, is skipping the event.

Karrie Webb was four strokes back along with Grace Park, Charlotta Sorenstam and 1998 winner Kelly Robbins. South Korea's Se Ri Pak, making her first start after a five-week break, was another stroke back at 70.

Auto racing

NEW BELT RULES: Reacting to the discovery of a partially torn seat belt in Jeremy Mayfield's car, NASCAR announced new rules regarding the placement of belts and manufacturer labels.

MORE LIKE VACATION: Don't call it retirement for Mika Hakkinen.

The Formula One star's departure from racing after this season is more like a vacation. Like Michael Jordan, if Hakkinen misses the competition enough, he might be back.

The two-time Formula One champion, second to Michael Schumacher in victories among active drivers, will take at least a year off after the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday and the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 14.

In the meantime, Kimi Raikkonen, another Finnish driver, will replace Hakkinen as David Coulthard's teammate with McLaren next season.

Tennis

SALEM OPEN: Russian Marat Safin and Australian Mark Philippoussis were upset in second-round matches at the $400,000 Salem Open.

Swede Magnus Larsson stunned second-seeded Safin 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. German Rainer Schuettler ousted No. 5 Philippoussis 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3.

Top-seeded Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero beat American Cecil Mamiit 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

In other second-round matches, third-seeded Sebastien Grosjean beat Nicolas Massu, and Andre Sa took Michel Kratochvil.

Also, No. 6 Jonas Bjorkman defeated Wayne Arthurs; Andrew Ilie advanced when No. 7 Michael Chang retired because of injury, and No. 8 Marcelo Rios overcame Kenneth Carlsen.

ATP TOURNAMENT: Mariano Zabaleta beat top-seeded Alex Corretja 6-4, 7-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the $400,000 ATP tournament in Palermo.

In other matches, third-seeded Albert Portas beat Jose Acasuso 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3; David Sanchez advanced when seventh-seeded Franco Squillari retired; and Felix Mantilla eliminated Galo Blanco.

WISMILAK INTERNATIONAL: Top-seeded Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario advanced to the quarterfinals of the $170,000 Wismilak International by defeating Janet Lee 6-1, 6-3. Also moving on were Wimbledon junior champion Angelique Widjaja and Shinobu Asagoe.