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The National Institutes of Health outlined Monday how it planned to use part of a $30 million grant from the NFL to finance a series of research projects designed to answer some of the most vexing questions about how and why athletes sustain traumatic brain injuries.

The NIH said that $12 million, most of it from the NFL, would go to two groups trying to identify chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in living patients, not just in autopsies, as is the case now. To do that, they will try to define what is distinct about the condition. A total of $2 million will be given to six institutions more focused on concussions and young athletes.

The NFL, which has been widely criticized for the way it handled concussions in the past, has committed tens of millions of dollars to researchers studying concussions and the cognitive disorders linked to them.

To that end, the NIH is financing projects that look at identifying concussions and the effects of head hits on young players.

49ers: Do-everything fullback Bruce Miller is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs with a left shoulder blade injury sustained during Sunday's win at Tampa Bay.

Bears: Cornerback Charles Tillman will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn right triceps.

Coach Marc Trestman also said a decision on whether star linebacker Lance Briggs will return from a fractured shoulder will be made on Friday.

Cowboys: Dez Bryant said on Monday that he left the field with time remaining in Dallas' crushing loss to the Packers because he "couldn't watch Green Bay kneel that ball down" and that he cried when he got to the locker room. The Cowboys blew a 26-3 halftime lead and lost 37-36.

On Monday, Bryant said he was sorry for leaving the field early.

Bengals: Punter Kevin Huber suffered a broken jaw after taking a hard hit from the Steelers' Terence Garvin during a return.

Huber was down on the field for several minutes before walking to the Cincinnati locker room. Kicker Mike Nugent took over Huber's punting duties.

Packers: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has not been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Steelers, but he has not yet been cleared to return from his broken collarbone either.

As a result, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the he is planning for Matt Flynn to start his fourth consecutive game.

Cardinals: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald sustained a concussion attempting to recover an onside kick Sunday. Fitzgerald will have to be cleared to suit up this week.

Noteworthy: Giants receiver Victor Cruz suffered a concussion and sprained knee and could miss this weekend's game. ... Broncos receiver Wes Welker still has not returned to practice after suffering his second concussion in a month.... Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts could miss the rest of the season with a groin injury. ... Browns star cornerback Joe Haden said a painful hip pointer could keep him out of this weekend's game.

 

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