Nashville, Tenn Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger is back at work and will call the plays Sunday when the Titans visit the Houston Texans before starting his treatment for cancer.
Coach Jeff Fisher said Thursday that Heimerdinger met with his doctors Wednesday night and will start his treatment Monday.
“So obviously he feels good enough to finish up this week and call the game, so we’re very, very excited for that and to have him back and keep him involved,” Fisher said. “We’re praying for him, and it’s been a very, very emotional day, but it’s been great to get him back. Guys were happy to see him this morning.”
Heimerdinger isn’t talking with reporters this week. He walked out to practice and went to work. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan ran by and patted the coordinator on the back at one point.
“It means a lot for him to come out here,” Finnegan said. “Dealing with what he’s dealing with, it speaks volumes the kind of man he is.”
Fisher said football is Heimerdinger’s love and passion. Focusing on his job offers a break for Heimerdinger before starting treatment.
“He understands now what’s ahead,” Fisher said of his coordinator and friend. “He’s got a tremendous fight ahead of him. At least he knows what to prepare for and when to prepare for it so that speaks volumes of his commitment to this organization.”
Redskins put Portis on IR
Ashburn, Va. — Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis was placed on injured reserve Thursday because of a torn muscle in his lower abdomen.
Portis returned from a groin injury Sunday against Tennessee, but lasted only five carries before getting hurt again. He will have surgery and require at least two months of rehabilitation, ending his season with a career-low 227 yards on 54 carries with two touchdowns.
Also Thursday, the Redskins signed running back Andre Brown to the 53-man roster and signed offensive lineman Jacob Bender to the practice squad.
Federer, Murray in semis
London — Roger Federer and Andy Murray easily secured spots in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday with straight-sets victories in their last round-robin matches.
Federer continued his dominance over Robin Soderling, beating the Swede, 7-6 (5) 6-3, to earn top spot in Group B of the season-ending tournament. Murray followed up by recovering from a shaky start to beat David Ferrer, 6-2, 6-2, to hand the Spaniard his third straight loss in the group phase.
Their semifinal opponents will be decided today, when the last round-robin matches in Group A are played.
Federer’s victory meant Murray only had to win a set to clinch second place in the group. He took care of that in 31 minutes, recovering from going down 2-0 in the first set by playing nearly perfect tennis in winning the next seven games to take control of the match.
Serena out of Aussie Open
Melbourne, Australia — Serena Williams withdrew from the Australian Open because of a foot injury after winning the Grand Slam event the last two years.
Tournament director Craig Tiley released a statement Thursday saying Williams had pulled out of the Hopman Cup international mixed teams competition in Perth and the Australian Open in January.
It will be the second consecutive major Williams misses, and the loss of 2,000 rankings points could cost the 29-year-old star her place in the top 10.
Kaymer ahead of McDowell
Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Martin Kaymer got the best of Graeme McDowell in their battle for the European money title Thursday, shooting a 5-under 67 to take a five-shot lead over his rival after the first round of the Dubai World Championship.
Kaymer was two strokes behind leader Robert Karlsson, whose 65 matches last year’s lowest opening round. The 41-year-old Swede held a one-shot lead over 19-year-old South Korean Noh Seung-yul. Several players, including No. 1 Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, were at 3 under.
Grizzlies reserve charged
Memphis, Tenn. — Police say Hamed Haddadi of the Memphis Grizzlies and his girlfriend have been charged with assault following an altercation between the two.
Memphis police were called Thursday morning to a downtown apartment building and found Haddadi, a backup center from Iran, and his girlfriend with bruises and scratches.
The arrest report says a verbal disagreement turned physical, and both Haddadi and Goolnaz “Asal” Karbalaeinematmoeeney were taken to the Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Warriors Lee cleared to practice
Oakland, Calif. — Golden State Warriors forward David Lee has been medically cleared to resume light conditioning a week after undergoing a second procedure on his left elbow to treat an infection.
He has had stitches and a catheter for IVs removed from his right arm, the team said Thursday.
Lee initially had surgery Nov. 12 after he cut the inside of his elbow two days earlier in a nasty collision with the mouth of New York’s Wilson Chandler, who left a fragment of a tooth in Lee’s arm. After Lee’s elbow swelled and bled, he went to an emergency room for antibiotics.