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Tuesday, December 16, 1997

Balmorhea boys snare second title

PECOS, Dec. 16 -- The Balmorhea Bears remained perfect for
the 1997-98 boys basketball season on Saturday, as they
defeated district rival Buena Vista on the Longhorns' home
court to take the championship of the Longhorn Classic

Four of Balmorhea's five starters were in double figures,
as the Bears improved to 9-0 with an 81-59 victory.
Meanwhile, Balmorhea's girls saw their season mark slip to
3-5, as they lost to the Jal Panthers, 49-32, in the
tournament's third place game.

The tournament title was the second of the season for the
Bears, who took top honors the previous week in Sanderson.
Balmorhea was led by Zane Rhyne's 20 points in the win over
the Longhorns, while Arturo Miranda added 19, Manny Mendoza
15 and Kevin Castillo had 12. Buena Vista's Zack Huertas led
all scorers with 22 points.

Balmorhea's girls opened the tournament with a victory over
Buena Vista, but then lost to Sanderson and fell to Jal on
Saturday. Amanda Lozano's eight points were tops for

Kermit wound up winning the girls division title, defeating
Sanderson by a 41-29 final score.

The Bears are off this week until Friday, when they'll
close out their pre-Christmas schedule with games at the Van
Horn Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

Rice pays price for fast return from injury

AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 16 - Jerry Rice celebrated his
remarkable comeback from major knee surgery with a touchdown
catch. Did it come at too high a price?

Rice, playing just 3½ months after reconstructive surgery on
his left knee, scored his 166th career touchdown Monday
night and became the first non-kicker in NFL history to
score 1,000 points.

But Rice landed hard on his rebuilt leg in the end zone, and
was unable to return to the game. Though the San Francisco
49ers described the injury as a bruise, they said Rice was
expected to have an MRI today to determine the severity of
the injury.

``We're going to do some imaging and see if we can figure
out exactly what it is,'' general manager Dwight Clark said.

CNN-SI and The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Calif., quoted
team sources as saying Rice has a cracked bone in his left
knee and will miss all of the playoffs.

San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci, who said Rice will not
play this Sunday on the turf at Seattle's Kingdome, was
concerned when Rice went down hard on his touchdown catch.

``I just kept saying, `Get up Jerry, Get up Jerry. Get up,
get up,''' Mariucci said. ``Then he got up and jogged off
and said, `I'm OK.'''

Rice made his return as the 49ers defeated the Denver
Broncos 34-17. He did not start, but got in for 10 plays
before leaving with the aching left knee.

Rice's 14-yard scoring pass from Steve Young with 6:53
remaining in the second quarter was the 49ers' first score
of the game. Rice, who took a hard hit from safety Steve
Atwater after making the catch, appeared to favor his leg as
he walked off the field.

Rice, who talked several times with 49ers orthopedic surgeon
Michael Dillingham on the sideline after the touchdown,
walked slowly to the locker room at halftime. He had a wrap
around his knee while standing on the sideline in the third

``He banged his knee in the ground,'' Mariucci said. ``It's
stable. It swelled just like after a week of practice. At
this point there's no real concern.''

Rice avoided reporters after the game and was not available
for comment.

Rice, coming off a grueling rehabilitation that began when
his knee was mangled on the opening weekend of the season,
had three catches for 40 yards in the first half.

He made a 16-yard catch in the first quarter, extending his
streak to 177 straight games with at least one catch. He
also had a diving 10-yard reception during the 92-yard drive
that culminated with his touchdown.

Rice, the NFL career leader in touchdowns, receptions and
receiving yardage, was greeted by a huge roar when announced
before the game.

He ran onto the field after being introduced and leaped into
the arms of fullback William Floyd, then quickly was
engulfed by teammates.

Fans also stood to cheer as Rice jogged out for warmups with
other 49ers receivers about 45 minutes before the game. He
high-stepped along the sidelines, raising his arms in
triumph near a young fan wearing a Rice jersey and holding a
``Welcome Back Jerry'' sign.

Rice tore two ligaments and damaged cartilage in his knee
when he was tackled awkwardly by Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp
while running a reverse in the season opener. He underwent
reconstructive surgery the next day.

The 34-year-old receiver was expected to be out four to six
months, but Rice - whose rigorous offseason workout regimen
helped keep him injury-free throughout his career - defied
his doctors' predictions almost from the start.

Rice removed the cast himself after two weeks, about five
days ahead of schedule.

He got rid of his crutches a week later, and began a daily
routine that included 2½ hours of range-of-motion exercises
and weight training. He ran and jogged before practices and
games, and started running routes and taking tosses from
Young during pregame workouts in November.

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