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Sports briefs


PELE HOSPITALIZED: Soccer great Pele had emergency surgery for a detached retina Thursday but was recovering and expected to leave the hospital soon. The surgery on Pele's left eye was completed without any complications, according to a statement from the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo. The 63-year-old Pele was expected to be discharged as early as Thursday night.


FIGHT WEIGH-IN: Vitali Klitschko weighed in at 245 pounds Thursday for his WBC heavyweight title fight Saturday with Corrie Sanders. Sanders weighed 235 for the bout for the title vacated by the retirement of Lennox Lewis. The scheduled 12-round fight at the Staples Center will be televised by HBO, beginning at 7:30 p.m. MDT.

BOXER SUSPENDED: Boxer Johnny Vasquez Jr. was suspended for two years for refusing to take an out-of-competition drug test, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday. Vasquez, of Snyder, Texas, refused to take a test March 21, USADA said. His suspension started April 5.


MOONEY PROMOTED: Air Force promoted Chris Mooney to head basketball coach Thursday, a day after Joe Scott left for Princeton. Mooney, 31, has been with Air Force for four years, the last two as an associate coach. He came to Air Force after a two-year stint as head coach at Beaver College in Glenside, Pa.

DONS HIRE EVANS: San Francisco concluded its monthlong search for a basketball coach, hiring Jessie Evans away from Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday. "Jessie's a proven winner who's a proven recruiter," athletic director Bill Hogan said. "You don't get much better than that." The Dons settled on Evans after their highly publicized attempt to lure Gene Keady away from Purdue failed.

MULLIN STEPS IN: Chris Mullin was promoted to executive VP of basketball operations by the Golden State Warriors, who are looking for leadership from one of the most popular players in team history. Garry St. Jean was stripped of his title as general manager and will get another job with the Warriors.

Mullin has been groomed as a special assistant to St. Jean for two seasons since retiring as a player and a five-time All-Star. He averaged 25 points each season from 1988-93.


TOUR OF GEORGIA: Lance Armstrong didn't disappoint the hundreds of west Georgia spectators who lined the streets to see the world's great cyclist in action.

The five-time Tour de France winner took both stages of the Tour de Georgia on Thursday to assume the overall lead in the 641-mile, seven-stage competition.

"If you can win two times in one day, that's really great," Armstrong said. This summer, Armstrong will try for an unprecedented sixth straight victory in the Tour de France, cycling's most prestigious event.

"I was really focused on the time trial this afternoon, so I was definitely surprised by how well I did this morning."

Completing the 18.6-mile afternoon mountain course in 39 minutes, 51.78 seconds, Armstrong heard another huge ovation in downtown Rome as he took charge of the race. He dominated the steep, 2,102-foot ride.


MONTE CARLO MASTERS: Lleyton Hewitt wasted a 3-0 lead in the third set and lost to struggling Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 Thursday in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters. Schuettler is in the quarterfinals of this clay-court tournament. He'll meet sixth-seeded Tim Henman, a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner against No. 9 Nicolas Massu. The other quarterfinal matchups: Guillermo Coria vs. David Nalbandian, Marat Safin vs. Alberto Martin, and Nikolay Davydenko vs. Carlos Moya or Juan Ignacio Chela.

Auto racing

BUSCH POLE WINNER: Inexperience at Talladega Superspeedway proved no deterrent to Clint Bowyer, and he won the pole Thursday for the NASCAR Busch series race.

The rookie from Emporia, Kan., got the first pole of his career, driving a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet around the 2.66-mile oval at 184.253 mph. Ron Hornaday Jr., gave RCR a sweep of the front row with a speed of 183.737. Martin Truex Jr., the polesitter at Daytona, will start third. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Chance 2 Motorsports teammate and protege got around at 183.522.