Originally created 02/08/02

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Pro Football

Henning named Panthers' assistant

Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Henning was hired by the Carolina Panthers as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Thursday.

Henning also was the head coach of the San Diego Chargers and was the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins' Super Bowl champions in 1983 and 1988. Collegiately, he coached Boston College.

He was offensive coordinator for the New York Jets from 1998-2000 before leaving coaching last season after 25 years.

"Dan Henning is viewed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL," new Panthers head coach John Fox said. "He has knowledge and experience and will be a great asset to our offense."

Henning comes to a Carolina team that ranked last in the league in offense and defense last season and set an NFL record by losing its last 15 games to finish 1-15.

The team's starting quarterback, Chris Weinke, won the Heisman Trophy in 2000, but he struggled as a rookie last season.

Henning has coached Joe Theismann, Bob Griese, Doug Williams and Vinny Testaverde.

Pro Basketball

Brand to replace Shaq as All-Star

Shaquille O'Neal will sit out the NBA All-Star game because of arthritis in his right big toe.

O'Neal, who missed the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, was replaced on the Western Conference team by Elton Brand of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Brand, in his third year in the league, will be making his first All-Star appearance. He's also the first Clippers player in the All-Star game since Danny Manning in 1994.

O'Neal missed last year's All-Star game with an inflamed arch on his right foot.

He received the second-most votes of any player, 1,247,438, in fan balloting for this year's game, which is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Auto racing

Michael Andretti returns to Indy

If there's ever been a hard-luck driver in the Indianapolis 500, it's Michael Andretti, who will again try to end his family's jinx at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26.

Andretti, son of 1969 winner Mario Andretti, has driven at Indy 12 times without a trip to Victory Lane. His 398 laps at the front of the field are the most by any nonwinner in the race's 85-year history.

He also has won a record 41 races in the rival Championship Auto Racing Teams series, yet he was away from Indianapolis for five years during the peak of his career because of CART's boycott of the Indy Racing League.

"I said last year when I came back to the Speedway that I felt like I had some unfinished business at this place," Andretti said Thursday. "That feeling hasn't changed, so I'm glad to be getting another opportunity."

He'll get the chance again with Team Green, one of a number of CART teams that began returning to Indy two years ago.

Boxing

De La Hoya has three-fight plan

Five-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya has a simple plan - three fights and out the door.

Now that he has everything he's ever wanted, it's nearly time to focus on life outside of boxing.

De La Hoya's personal single-elimination competition begins May 4 in Las Vegas when he defends his WBC super welterweight title against Fernando Vargas, a man he admits he truly dislikes and believes is bad for the sport he loves.

"I'm not going to go back on my word," De La Hoya said Thursday from his home in Puerto Rico, referring to a longtime plan to retire from boxing when he turns 30. "I can have three big fights this year and call it quits, that's actually the plan."

De La Hoya turned 29 on Monday.