Wakeup Call: At least the loan was for something important

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Wakeup Call: At least the loan was for something important

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, February 13:

BASEBALL
Let's go for another ride down Denial River: Gio Gonzalez says he's never taken PEDs and has no connection with the Miami clinic suspected of dealing them . . . (CSN Washington)

. . . and that goes double for Jesus Montero. (AP)

Joe Girardi insists that stashing A-Rod -- another guy who, I'm sure, never heard of PEDs and the Bosch Clinic -- in New York during his rehab from hip surgery has nothing to do "with trying to get rid of a distraction". In the classic words of Jim Gosger from the brilliant book Ball Four: Yeah, suuurrre. (AP)

Old friend Hideki Okajima thinks that, "with enough preparation and training," he'll be able to beat out some of these young guys for a spot in the A's bullpen. (CSN Bay Area)

And another old friend, Carl Crawford, is just about to face live pitching and says he's "confident" he'll be ready for Opening Day. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Crawford's new team was dissed by the Giants' Brandon Belt -- who, when asked about the Dodgers' profligate spending, replied, "All I can say is, you can't buy team chemistry" -- and Belt says he's "getting killed" for his remarks. (CSN Bay Area)

At last, it's a done deal for King Felix and the Mariners. (AP)

And now Hernandez has a new teammate: Joe Saunders. (Hardball Talk)

It's also a done deal for Mat Latos and the Reds. (AP)

And Brandon Inge and the Pirates. (Hardball Talk)

Rolen-to-English translation: Scott Rolen probably wants to play in 2013. Just not in Cincinnati. (AP)

Not a real good sign for the Mets when closer Frank Francisco -- shut down last September 16 because of elbow inflammation -- rests all winter, and then says the elbow still hurts on the first day of spring training. (AP)

Ryan Madson's going for an MRI to examine the elbow pain Mike Scioscia wasn't worried about yesterday. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
No. 25 Kentucky gets schooled by No. 7 Florida . . . (AP)

. . . but the far bigger concern is the knee injury suffered by the Wildcats' freshman center, Nerlens Noel, which, as you'll see in the video attached to the story, doesn't look good. At all. And without Noel, the defending national champs are going nowhere. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

What the injury does to Noel's career is even more worrisome, especially since Florida's Patric Young called it "gruesome" and Kentucky coach John Calipari said, "I'm physically sick for Noel right now." (Yahoo! Sports)

Another high-profile smackdown: No. 8 Michigan State wallops No. 4 Michigan by 23. (AP)

Makes you think we should reevaluate how we view the Wolverines, doesn't it? (College Basketball Talk)

Rutgers women's coach C. Vivian Stringer is denied her 900th career victory in a last-second loss at DePaul, and says she hopes she reaches the milestone soon because "it's a heck of a lot of burden and stress." (AP)

The center on Penn's 1979 Final Four team is stabbed to death in his sleep by his wife, who said she did it because she caught him looking at what she called child pornography on the Internet and "I had to do it." (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Nice program ya got there, Nick. (AP)

Sources say the reshuffled Big East is about to sign a footballbasketball deal with the NBC Sports Network. (AP)

GOLF
Last weekend's win at Pebble Beach was another sign that Brandt Snedeker is emerging as the next American star. (AP)

The new star, however, won't participate in the Match Play Championship because of sore ribs. (AP)

Michelle Wie was once the rising star of women's golf. But after the worst year of her career in 2012, she's revamping her game and will try to get back on track this weekend in the Women's Australian Open, which kicks off the 2013 LPGA season. (AP)

Wie and Snedeker both made names for themselves as youngsters in the U.S. Amateur Public Links. Now, however, the U.S. Golf Association -- saying it's following a trend that's being set at the local and regional levels -- is getting rid of the Publinx in favor of a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. (AP)

HOCKEY
The Canadiens blow another third-period lead, but Carey Price saves them in the shootout. (AP)

Not sure I would have put much money down last night on the Hurricanes, since they were ending a six-game road trip playing their second game in two nights, and against the scorching Devils to boot. But that's why I don't bet. (AP)

Think Bobby Loo is still available? (AP)

New Blue Jackets head honcho John Davidson said he had "a gut feeling" that he had to fire general manager Scott Howson . . . so he did. (AP)

And it looks like his gut is telling him to hire Jarmo Kekalainen as Howson's replacement. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
The IOC tells wrestling "It's not you, it's me" as the reason why it's dropping the sport, which has been contested in every Olympics except one since 1896. (NBC's Olympic Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
So LeBron James has the new record for consecutive games with 30 points and 60 percent shooting? Who figures out this stuff? (AP)

Plain old 100 percent isn't good enough for Derrick Rose. No, no, he's not coming back until he's "110 percent" recovered from his knee injury. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Delonte West was picked up by the Texas Legends of the D-League on Jan. 25, but he still hasn't reported. (AP)

Who would've thought the Lakers could win a game when Kobe Bryant scored only four points? (AP)

James Harden plays through the pain of an injured right ankle and leads the Rockets past the Warriors . . . (AP)

. . . but it doesn't look like he'll be playing through it tonight. (CSN Houston)

Speaking of the Rockets, there may be a happy ending to the Royce White story, after all. (AP)

Temper, temper, Kevin! (AP)

And because we all miss Bob Lobel: Why can't we get players like that?!? (AP)

Lou Amundson is drawing lots of interest on the trade market. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Surprised that the Sixers are still in the playoff race? So are they. (CSN Philly)

PRO FOOTBALL
Well, as long as he needed the money for something important. (AP)

Chip Kelly's first move as Eagles coach: Shift to a two-back system. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

SOCCER
The prestige of the English Premier League may be at stake today when Manchester United goes against Real Madrid. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

TENNIS
Rafael Nadal to the ATP: You don't care about us. (AP)

Andy Roddick's coming out of retirement . . . sort of. (AP)

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

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Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.