Chicago Sun-Times
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Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

For all the hype, all the promise and all the potential of Mark Prior, his career in baseball may be officially over.

Yes, for those of you wondering at that statement, his career was only mostly over after his last injury-filled flameout with his hometown San Diego Padres in 2009. But according to a report in the Trib, he was injured yet again in his latest quest, a desperate grasp at the glory days that ended far too soon.

"Mark has been through so many timelines, at this point I'm almost allergic to the word," Prior's agent John Boggs said in January. "But he's out there. He's getting himself ready. And when he's ready, I'm sure you'll hear a lot about him. Then we'll invite teams to come watch him throw. And hopefully, he'll be the next Ben Sheets."

Prior, it seems, was nailed with a comebacker in the pitching shoulder in what may be the final divine message that it's time for him to take his Cubs signing bonus - a then-record $10.5 million in 2001 - and hang 'em up in style. For that matter, the $15,00 a month the Padres were paying him to rehab without ever pitching an inning for them would make for a decent start at retirement.

The injury was not reported as serious, but he's apparently been shut down for three weeks as a precautionary measure.

As baseball fans watch Joe Mauer and Mark Teixeira, the two names most notable as Cubs draft considerations in 2001, win MVP awards with the Minnesota Twins and help slug the Yankees back to championships in New York, it's hard not to think about how Prior is synonymous with broken hopes in Cubdom.

It's a story of a career made even more sad when you consider Prior hasn't turned 30 yet and has already had multiple shoulder reconstructions.

"If I can get back to 80 percent or 90 percent of what I used to be, then that's still pretty good. I look back to those three, four years in the big leagues, and I pitched pretty well and did the things I had to do to help us win games," Prior said during Spring Training with the Padres in 2009. "I don't know if those memories haunt me, but they motivate me."

The fact that he still feels the competitive impulse to try to drag his battered arm through the violent process of major league pitching again does say something about his fire, but maybe it's better for him at this point to just put the tattered dream on ice for good.

APTOPIX NFC Championship Fo.jpg

The Watch is officially on. Brett Favre is doing his now annual retirement song and dance.

Favre, who spent the NFC Championship game getting pounded into the turf courtesy of the Super Bowl-bound New Orleans Saints, tells ESPN's Ed Werder he's leaning toward ending his career. Again. For now.

In fact, the 40-year-old, who said after his valiant, but losing effort in the Louisiana Superdome Sunday night that he felt more like 49, said he's "highly unlikely" to come back. If true - and until the middle of training camp, nothing is certain - Favre will end a brilliant career on an interception at the end of regulation.

Of course, the man's probably too beat up to get into his Wranglers by himself, so this declaration may end up meaning very little, as Favre retirement announcements often do. So Vikings owner Zygi Wilf would be well-advised to keep the corporate jet available and coach Brad Childress should have his Escalade gassed up for the trip to the airport.

And all NFL fans need to come to grips with the beginning of the Favre Watch season, which runs through mid-summer. Maybe we can make a drinking game out of it or something.



Bears running back Matt Forte had post-season arthroscopic surgery on his left knee within the last couple of weeks, reports the Chicago Tribune. Forte, who struggled for yards in the lost '09 campaign, had an MRI at season's end on the same knee.

Forte has been been battling a hamstring issue since last summer - including an MRI after s sprain in Week 3 after spraining the hamstring in the Bears 25-19 win in Seattle against the Seahawks.

The Forte situation piles on top of the already injury-plagued Bears running back corps. Northern Illinois product Garrett Wolfe had shoulder surgery two weeks and and Kevin Jones continues to rehab torn ligaments in his left ankle. Adrian Peterson missed several weeks mid-season. Without a high-up draft spot going into 2010, it's beginning to look troublesome on offense for the Bears and the 2009 season isn't even done yet.

dvoracek.pngOKBlitz is reporting that former Oklahoma Sooner and oft-injured Bears defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek was arrested following some sort of bar-fueled dust-up in Norman, Okla.

Dvoracek was charged with public intoxication, assault and battery and interfering with an official process, according to the report, at Seven47.

Dvoracek played 13 games in four years for the Bears after being the definition of an injury-prone player. He missed all of the 2009 campaign after tearing his ACL during the preseason, and has ended each year of his NFL career on injured reserve.

If the charges are true, this is the most hitting he's done in a while.

Video turned up on YouTube that's apparently Adam James giving a brief tour of his holding pen, now infamous as the pit where former Texas Tech head footbal coach Mike Leach's career went to die.

It's a dark, grainy cell phone video that doesn't show much, but you get the idea that's it's a somewhat small tech closet and no great pace to spend three hours.

The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets hooked up in the type of NBA action you can really sink your teeth into Friday night. No, really.

Serial tooth-loser Carl Landry and all-everything Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki were battling under the board when Houston Rockets Landry's mouth met Nowitzki's elbow and, well, nobody wins that battle, apparently. Nowitzki went sliding to the floor and immediately started checking his elbow, where he found a few of Landry's chopper embedded. And by few, I mean five teeth in total.

Oddly, this isn't the first time Landry has lost teeth in a game. In April of 2008 he lost a front tooth in a practice mishap with Dikembe Mutombo. He then had that replacement tooth bashed out by Carlos Boozer in a playoff game a few weeks later.

Nowitzki, for his part, gamely took his foul shots left-handed, then quickly committed a foul to get off the court for treatment.

Nowitzki is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Landry is, hopefully, shopping for a mouth guard.

For those of you foolishly pining for the days when Rex Grossman would be a world-beater for the Chicago Bears as this year's unit bumbles its way though the season, a slight jog for your defective memory.

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub separated his left shoulder on the first play of a 23-18 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.

After getting sacked by Derrick Harvey, Schaub stayed on the ground as trainers rushed onto the field. Schaub eventually walked off without any help, but spent just a few minutes on the bench before heading to the locker room for tests.

Enter Rex - as only Rex can.

Grossman threw an interception on his second attempt and finished 3 of 9 for 33 yards before the Texans decided it would be better to drag their banged-up franchise quarterback back onto the field after falling behind 17-0.

With all the ex-Bears busts flourishing throughout the league, it's kinda heartening to see that Rex will always be the same.

Though the Texans fans have yet to learn their lesson. Busy calling for head coach Gary Kubiak's head, they clearly have been too busy to study history and trends - at least that's the impression you get from this comment on a running game blog for the Houston Chronicle that reported Grossman's entry into the game:


They'll learn. And if you know a Texans fan, do them a favor and offer up some education.

Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson sustained what looked to be a very serious leg injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's game against the Arizona Cardinals. 

While trying to tackle Cardinals running back Tim Hightower, Henderson collided with teammate Jamarca Sanford, flipping over before laying on the ground in obvious pain. He was carted off and NBC's replay suggested that the prognosis will not be good.

Henderson is a seven-year veteran out of Maryland and entered Sunday's game with 73 tackles on the year.

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