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Dolphins must carry on without injured Brown

The Miami Dolphins' resurgence may have to continue without running back Ronnie Brown, at least in the short term.

Brown had surgery yesterday to stabilize a broken left hand. Other than saying the team's leading rusher -- who happens to be lefthanded -- and No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft will be "evaluated on an ongoing basis," the Dolphins did not reveal any timetable for Brown's return.

Brown suffered the injury Thursday as Miami won its fourth straight game, beating Detroit, 27-10, and climbing into the AFC's wild-card picture. If Brown cannot play Dec. 3 when Miami hosts Jacksonville, then Sammy Morris likely will get the start in his place.

Dolphins coach Nick Saban was not available yesterday, as the team was off. He was expected to provide an update on Brown's status today.

Brown had 68 yards rushing on 15 carries against the Lions. He was injured shortly after halftime, when Detroit linebacker Ernie Sims put his helmet on Brown's hand during a tackle. Brown went in the locker room for X-rays, which showed he broke the second metacarpal, a bone between the index finger and wrist.

Tobeck hospitalized
Injuries continue to plague the Seahawks, and, in particular, center Robbie Tobeck. The Pro Bowler is in a Seattle-area hospital with an abscess in his left hip after missing the previous two games with a severe flu. In August, he had bone chips removed from his elbow. Tobeck is doubtful for Monday night's game against Green Bay, meaning Chris Spencer, the team's first-round draft choice in 2005, almost certainly will make his third career start. The Seahawks expect to have Matt Hasselbeck (sprained knee) as their starting quarterback for the first time in five weeks -- "unless something happens in the next couple days that is unforeseen," coach Mike Holmgren said . . . Packers quarterback Brett Favre looked sharp in practice, and even though the 37-year-old is listed as questionable with groin and a nerve injury in his right elbow, he is expected to make his 252d straight start Monday night. "He said he was feeling pretty good," offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said. "I don't think it'll be any factor with that at all."

Quarrel is quelled
For the second time in less than a year, Giants coach Tom Coughlin had a sitdown with Tiki Barber after the veteran halfback criticized the coaching staff following a loss. While refusing to discuss what was said in their meeting, Coughlin said that Barber's complaint that coaches abandoned the running game too early in a loss to Jacksonville last Monday should have been made to him directly instead of through the media. "The comments that were made, obviously, are disappointing to me, and the fact of the matter is that my door is always open and that's where it is to start," said Coughlin . . . Vikings free safety Darren Sharper was fined $15,000 by the league for bumping into an official during last Sunday's loss at Miami . . . The Vikings have demoted starting cornerback Fred Smoot, who has struggled in recent weeks with a groin injury and the death of his half-brother. Coach Brad Childress said rookie Cedric Griffin has leapfrogged Smoot on the depth chart . . . The Panthers placed center Justin Hartwig on injured reserve, ending his disappointing season. Coach John Fox said Hartwig would undergo surgery soon to repair a groin injury that kept him out of all but two games this season. Carolina gave Hartwig a five-year, $17 million free agent deal in the offseason . . . Jack Ferrante, a wide receiver on two Philadelphia Eagles championship teams in the 1940s, died Thursday night in Yardley, Pa., at 90. Ferrante had 169 receptions for 2,884 yards and 31 touchdowns in a nine-year career.

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