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Aikman vows to recover in time for season opener

Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman, who underwent back surgery Saturday for a herniated disc, reaffirmed his commitment Monday to play in the Cowboys' season opener against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 6. "I have every intention of playing in that game, and the doctors are telling me it's a very realistic goal," Aikman said from his hospital bed in Inglewood, Calif. "If I'm not okay, then I won't be foolish. I won't hesitate to miss a game or two in order to play the rest of the season. When I come back, I'm going to come back 100 percent and I'm planning on it being in time for the start of the season." Aikman, frustrated by muscle spasms and nagging aches that left him unable to put on his pants earlier this month, walked unannounced into a hospital Thursday and made his request for a magnetic resonance imaging test. Aikman's intuition superceded the recommendations of Cowboys doctors, who prescribed six weeks of rest and downplayed the need for an MRI. "This is in no way a knock on the job that (the Cowboys') medical staff did," said Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed the surgery. "But there's no doubt Troy's foresight might enable him to play in a few more games this year and beyond." Aikman will be replaced by Hugh Millen.

MORE FOOTBALL: New England Patriots running back Leonard Russell was released from Massachusetts General Hospital, three days after he was hospitalized with stab wounds in the chest. Police have identified a suspect but haven't made any arrests. Larry Kinnebrew, a former running back for the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, faces a retrial Aug. 23 on a rape charge in Cincinnati. A mistrial was declared in his first trial.

COLLEGES: If the University of Arkansas administration and the Southeastern Conference approve, Razorback swimmers will be able to compete for the school for another two years, athletic director Frank Broyles said. Broyles announced in April that women's volleyball would replace the men's swimming and diving program after the 1994 season.

SOCCER: Joy Fawcett's two first-half goals propelled the U.S. women's national soccer team to a 3-0 victory over Canada on the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome's new grass field. This was the first women's international soccer game played on an indoor grass field. The U.S. women, the defending world champions, have won six straight games and are 7-3 this year.

ET CETERA: University of Miami women's basketball coach Ferne Labati accepted a multiyear contract to remain at the school. Croatian superstar Toni Kukoc will miss the European Basketball Championship because of a foot injury.

_ Compiled by Felecia Rosser

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