Sports Briefs 12-24-13

SCHUYLER DIXON AP Sports Writer Published:

IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo limped so badly on one play against Washington, he barely made it to the spot where he had to hand off.

The obvious limp was gone by the time the Dallas quarterback moved forward in the pocket and threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray that gave Dallas a season-saving 24-23 win over the Redskins.

The severity of his back injury is likely to remain a question all week as the Cowboys prepare for their third straight season finale for the NFC East title and a playoff berth, this time against Philadelphia on Sunday night.

Responding to reports that Romo wouldn't play against the Eagles, coach Jason Garrett said Monday the team had "not made that determination at all at this point."

Garrett wouldn't reveal the results of an MRI for the 33-year-old Romo, who had back surgery to remove a cyst in April and missed offseason workouts.

"Obviously he was able to play through it and played very well at the end of that ballgame," Garrett said. "He's getting treatment. The MRI was part of the evaluation and there's going to be a series of different things that we do for his treatment over the next few days and see how he responds to it."

• Football

Another blow to Lions' fans: The Detroit Lions dealt some fans a blow one day after a 23-20 loss to the New York Giants eliminated them from playoff contention.

People who committed to buying postseason tickets from the Lions received them in the mail on Monday.

Team president Tom Lewand confirmed money spent on playoff games will be credited toward season-ticket renewals for the 2014 season.

Judge weighs gag order: A Massachusetts judge may impose a formal gag order in the murder case against former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez after his attorneys accused the state of allowing leaks that they contend could jeopardize his right to a fair trial. At a hearing in Fall River Superior Court on Monday, defense attorney Michael Fee blamed prosecutors for out-of-court statements reported in the media that he says have tarnished the ex-player. The judge did not immediately rule on the defense's request for a formal gag order.

Season over for Miller: The Denver Broncos began the season without Von Miller, and they'll end it without him, too. Miller's season is over after tests revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

Gardner still slowed: Michigan coach Brady Hoke says quarterback Devin Gardner is still slowed by a turf toe injury.

Hoke says if the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was on Monday, freshman Shane Morris would take snaps for the Wolverines against Kansas State.

The coach says Gardner, who is wearing a protective boot, would have to practice by Wednesday to play in Saturday night's game. Hoke says Gardner had a setback and met with doctors last Friday.

Malzahn is coach of the year: After leading second-ranked Auburn's transformation into Southeastern Conference champions Gus Malzahn's quick work made him The Associated Press national coach of the year.

Malzahn received 33 votes from AP Top 25 college football poll voters to beat out Duke's David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe received 17 votes after leading Duke (10-3) to its first 10-win season. Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio each received three votes.

• Basketball

Iowa State beats Akron: Georges Niang scored 22 points, and No. 14 Iowa State beat Akron 83-60 on Monday to match the best start in school history.

Melvin Ejim had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Cyclones, who improved to 10-0. DeAndre Kane added 15 points and 11 boards.

Reggie McAdams led Akron (6-3) with 13 points.

Waiters out again: Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters, the team's second leading scorer, will miss his third straight game because of tendinitis in his right wrist.

Waiters, who is averaging 14.9 points, hasn't played since Dec. 17 when he scored 25 in a loss to Portland.

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