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Woods describes recovery as ‘very slow process’

Top-ranked Tiger Woods described his recovery from back surgery as a “very slow process” that offered him no timetable on when he can return to action.

Woods already has missed last month’s Masters, choosing to have microdiscectomy surgery March 31 to relieve pain from a pinched nerve.

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“Some people heal up in three months, some people take four months, some people take longer,” he wrote in a blog on his website Monday. “I just don’t know.”

Woods, 38, said he is still sore from the incision and his only contact with golf clubs is a few putts and chips that do not require him to rotate his back.

“I made the decision to have surgery because physically I just couldn’t make a golf swing,” Woods wrote. “That pretty much sums it up.”

Woods made it sound as though he would not be ready for the U.S. Open, which starts June 12 in Pinehurst, N.C.

Woods, who last played March 9 at Doral in Florida, said all he could do was to follow a strength program, listen to doctors, chart his progress and wait.

“I haven’t used a sand wedge yet,” he wrote. “I’ve done putting and chip-and-runs using the same length of motion. I haven’t really rotated yet.”

Track and field

Neighbors testify Pistorius urged his girlfriend to live

Using witness accounts of a panicked nighttime phone call from Oscar Pistorius begging for help and his desperate pleas for Reeva Steenkamp to stay alive, the defense at his murder trial in South Africa tried to reinforce its case the double-amputee Olympic runner fatally shot his girlfriend in a tragic error of judgment.

Johan Stander and his daughter, Carice Viljoen, neighbors and friends of Pistorius, testified they were at the runner’s villa soon after the shooting Feb. 14, 2013, and that Pistorius was praying, trying to help Steenkamp breathe and urging her to live.

Viljoen testified Pistorius was saying to Steenkamp as she lay on the floor with multiple gunshot wounds: “Stay with me, my love, stay with me.”

Pistorius had shot four times through a toilet cubicle door with his 9 mm pistol minutes earlier, hitting Steenkamp in the hip, arm and head. He claims he thought she was a dangerous intruder in the cubicle in his darkened bathroom.

Prosecutors contend Pistorius, 27, is lying about the perceived trespasser, and his story is designed to cover up that he killed the 29-year-old model and reality-TV personality intentionally in the midst of an argument. Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of a premeditated murder charge.


Former players file motion

Seven retired players filed a motion to intervene in the league’s concussion litigation, claiming the proposed $765 million settlement doesn’t sufficiently represent the interests of all former players.

“ …(T)hat deal did not provide a single dollar, nor adequate medical treatment, to the many more class members who suffer from afflictions that inhibit their ability to work or function fully in their daily lives,” the 29-page motion filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia said.

The ex-players in that motion — Roderick Cartwright, Sean Considine, Alan Faneca, Ben Hamilton, Sean Morey, Jeff Rohrer and Robert Royal — were not part of the original litigation.

Eagles sign Army Ranger

The Philadelphia Eagles signed U.S. Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, giving the 6-foot-9, 277-pound defensive lineman his first chance to play football since he was commissioned May 22, 2010.

Villanueva, 25, spent the past four years in the Army and served three tours in Afghanistan. He last played football for Army in 2009. He tried out for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010.

Patriots sign DE Smith

New England signed defensive end Will Smith, 32, previously with New Orleans. He spent last season on injured reserve because of a knee injury.


• Liverpool wasted a three-goal lead in the final 16 minutes, hurting its English Premier League soccer-title hopes with a 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace that put Manchester City in solid position to win its second championship in three seasons.

Liverpool (25-6-6) has 81 points going into Sunday’s finale at home against Newcastle. Manchester City (25-6-5), one point back in second place, hosts Aston Villa on Wednesday and West Ham on Sunday.

• Santa Cruz, a second-division Brazilian soccer team, was ordered to play its next two home matches in an empty stadium after a man was fatally struck on the head by a toilet bowl thrown from the stands during fan violence last week.

Kenny Miller and Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps have agreed to terminate the contract of the 34-year-old Scottish forward.

Miller joined Vancouver in June 2012 from Cardiff and had 13 goals in 45 matches in all competitions.

• NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, 34, signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him with the Michael Waltrip Racing team.

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