Skiing/golf

Vonn, Woods support each other in rehab process

The power couple of sports is a rehab unit all its own.

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods take heart in knowing they have each other to lean on during the arduous process of recovering from operations.

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Vonn, a four-time World Cup overall champion, is working her way back from a second right-knee surgery that kept her from skiing at this year’s Sochi Olympics. Woods, the top-ranked golfer in the world, is coming back from surgery to relieve pain from a pinched nerve in his back that caused him to miss last month’s Masters.

“Rehab is not a fun thing to do — it’s very monotonous and tedious and a lot of the same exercises over and over and over,” Vonn said. “But if you’re going through rehab, it’s nice to have a partner to do this with … someone who relates to your situation and that you can talk to, rehab and train together.”

Vonn, 29, hopes to return to snow Oct. 1, most likely in Europe. If all goes well, she could be racing two months later in Lake Louise, Alberta.

In a recent posting on his website, Woods said, “It does help to rehab with Lindsey, but her programs are much further along than mine. That does help when you’re not the only one suffering.”

Woods and Vonn, who announced they were dating in March 2013, remind each other not to overdo the rehab process.

“He knows I’m in pain and I know he’s in pain,” Vonn said. “We understand each other. It’s different when you’re both experiencing it at the same time, even though they’re two completely different injuries.”

Woods, 38, has said he plans to return to competition “sometime this summer.”

Partly because Woods has been idle, Adam Scott will replace him at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking next week.

College football

Rutgers dismisses Nelson

Rutgers dismissed quarterback Philip Nelson from its program after he was charged in an assault that left another man critically injured.

Nelson, who played quarterback in 11 games for Minnesota last season, announced in January he would transfer to Rutgers.

Authorities say Nelson, 20, kicked ex-Minnesota State-Mankato linebacker Isaac Dallas Kolstad, 24, in the head Sunday during a fight outside a bar in Mankato.

Tennis

Djokovic resurfaces, wins

Novak Djokovic of Serbia marked his return from a right-wrist injury by beating Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5 in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome.

Djokovic, ranked No. 2 in the world, hadn’t played since losing to Roger Federer of Switzerland in the Monte Carlo Masters semifinals April 19.

Auto racing

Driver plays waiting game

James Hinchcliffe will have to wait a bit longer before he can return to the track. The 27-year-old driver from Canada was diagnosed with a concussion Saturday when he was hit in the head by debris in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Hinchcliffe was evaluated Tuesday and the IndyCar Series medical team has yet to clear him to begin practice for the May 25 Indianapolis 500. He was cleared to begin light training\.

ELSEWHERE

• Garmin-Sharp cyclist Rohan Dennis of Australia won the hot and hilly third stage and reduced Bradley Wiggins’ overall lead at the Tour of California.

Dennis covered 108.5 miles from San Jose to Danville in 4 hours, 56 minutes, 2 seconds.

Sky team rider Wiggins, who is from Britain, was ninth in the stage and leads Dennis by 24 seconds.

Nacer Bouhanni, a Frenchman who competes for the FDJ.fr team, won the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia. He covered 69.6 miles from Giovinazzo to Bari in Italy in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 6 seconds.

Australian Michael Matthews of the Orica-GreenEdge team kept the overall lead. Second-place Alessandro Petacchi, an Italian who competes for the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team, is eight seconds behind Matthews.

Garmin-Sharp rider Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee was 80th in the stage and is 151st overall.

• NBC officials say 4.9 million viewers tuned in to watch U.S. English-language coverage Sunday of the 10 matches on the final day of the English Premier League soccer season.

• Yale junior Brandon Sherrod has chosen harmonies over basketball, at least for a year. The 6-foot-6 forward is one of the 14 students selected to make up the next version of the Whiffenpoofs, the school’s famous male a cappella singing group that was formed in 1909.

Seattle Times news services