The Houston Rockets re-signed

Dikembe Mutombo

, a 42-year-old center, for the rest of the season yesterday, adding an emotional leader and a backup to

Yao Ming

.

He has played for the 76ers and five other NBA teams.

Mutombo supplants Boston's

Sam Cassell

, 39, as the NBA's oldest active player. Mutombo became a free agent after last season, contemplating retirement, but decided to return for an 18th season.

Carlos Boozer

, the top scorer for the Utah Jazz, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee at an undetermined date. The forward has missed 21 straight games after he had been averaging 20.5 points and 11.7 rebounds.

The New Jersey Nets declined to match Oklahoma City's offer sheet to

Nenad Krstic

, a former first-round pick, giving the Thunder another 7-footer in their search for a reliable center.

Baseball

The New York Mets have offered pitcher

Derek Lowe

a three-year contract for about $36 million, the New York Times reported last night.

Lowe, who starred for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is one of the top starting pitchers left on the free-agent market.

Catcher

Chris Snyder

, 27, and the Diamondbacks agreed on a three-year contract that will keep him in Arizona. He did not commit an error in 847 total chances.

Joe Nelson

, a righthanded reliever formerly with the Florida Marlins, signed a $1.3 million, one-year contract with the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays.

Pitcher

Mike Maroth

, catchers

Michael Barrett

and

Raul

Chavez

, and infielder

Randy Ruiz

signed minor-league contracts with the Toronto Blue Jays. Barrett played last season for San Diego.

Colleges

Quarterback

Robert Marve

is transferring from Miami. He started 11 of 13 games for the Hurricanes but also served a pair of suspensions in unrelated incidents.

Elsewhere:

Richard Quick

, the Auburn men's and women's swimming and diving coach, has an inoperable cancerous brain tumor, the school said. Also, the Tigers'

Sen'Derrick Marks

, a defensive lineman, said he will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft. . . . The Alabama Attorney General's Office is reviewing reports of alleged contact between

Andre Smith

, a Crimson Tide offensive tackle, and a sports agent after the all-American was suspended from the Sugar Bowl.

Oregon State coach

Mike Riley

agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2015 season. . . . Western Michigan coach

Bill Cubit

agreed to a five-year contract. Cubit is a former Widener coach.

Boxing

The World Boxing Association is reviewing

Nikolai Valuev's

win over

Evander Holyfield

, 46, by majority decision in a Dec. 20 heavyweight title bout in Switzerland.

One judge scored the bout in Switzerland a draw.

Hockey

The United States routed Kazakstan, 12-0, in the world junior hockey championship tournament in Ottawa.

Aaron Palushaj

and

Colin Wilson

each had two goals.

James vanRiemsdyk

, chosen second overall by the Flyers in the 2007 draft, added a goal.

The United States will meet Canada tonight in a duel of 3-0-0 teams. A bye into the semifinals is on the line.

Soccer

The Kixx' game at the Rockford Rampage has been changed from Feb. 1 to Feb. 22 at 6:05 p.m.