Tiger Woods

has started to hit balls with short irons and says he is able to stabilize his rebuilt left knee.

The 14-time major champion says he is on schedule to play the Masters.

Woods had reconstructive surgery a week after winning a playoff for the U.S. Open title in June. His news conference in Thousand Oaks, Calif., yesterday was his first since that victory.

Six months after surgery to repair a ruptured ligament - his third operation in six years - Woods said he was excited: "Everything has been right on schedule. I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Colleges

Oklahoma lost a key player for the second straight day when it was announced that reserve defensive tackle

DeMarcus Granger

had undergone back surgery and will not play in the BCS title game against Florida.

Coach

Bob Stoops

made the announcement a day after saying that starting running back

DeMarco Murray

would miss the Jan. 8 title game with a hamstring injury.

Illinois linebacker

Martez Wilson

left the hospital in Urbana where he had surgery for two stab wounds.

A university spokesman said Wilson was aiding former teammate

D'Angelo McCray

during a confrontation in a bar. No one has been arrested.

Greg Miller,

a senior defensive end for Villanova, was named to the second team on the Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision all-America team.

Charles Graves,

a junior defensive back for Delaware, also was named to the second team.

Andrew Sampson,

Penn's sophomore kicker, made the third team.

The Temple football team received oral commitments from defensive tackle

Kadeem Custis

of Neumann-Goretti; running back

Bernard Pierce

of Glen Mills; defensive back

Kwame Johnson

of Valley Forge Military Academy; defensive back

Deonte Parker

of Feather River Community College in California; linebacker

Marcus Green

of Scotch Plains-Fanwood (N.J.); and defensive end

Aaron Hush

of Piscataway (N.J.).

Olympics

CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc. executives have discussed joining forces to bid on rights to televise the Olympics in 2014 and 2016.

NBC, Fox and ABC-ESPN also have said they expect to bid on the U.S. rights to the Games.

The International Olympics Committee has said it is prepared to postpone its bid selection until after the host city is named next October for the 2016 Summer Games.

NBC has telecast every Summer Olympics since 1988.

Soccer

Heather O'Reilly

scored off a rebound in the 34th minute, helping the United States beat China, 1-0, in an exhibition soccer game at Ford Field in Detroit.

The victory gave the U.S. women a record of 33-1-2 for 2008.

Elsewhere: Sam Allardyce

was named manager of Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League, replacing the fired

Paul Ince

.

Horse racing

Standout trotter

Deweycheatumnhowe

and award-winning trainer and co-owner

Ray Schnittker

were unhurt when their pickup and trailer flipped on an icy road near Jersey Shore in north-central Pennsylvania.

Hockey

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie

Marc-Andre Fleury

will start tonight in Atlanta, the first time he has played since injuring his groin Nov. 15.