Headlines from around the world in sports
Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith sits on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
New York Yankees' Vernon Wells reacts after striking out on a throw from Oakland Athletics starting pitcher A.J. Griffin during the first inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Friday, May 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
FILE - In this undated photo provided by the Iowa State University Athletic Department is former Iowa State University football player Jason Berryman. Police in Jefferson, Texas, said Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 that Berryman was found dead this week of multiple gunshot wounds in his East Texas home by family members who were visiting a relative living nearby. (AP Photo/Iowa State Athletic Department)
Bode Miller, of the United States, warms up prior to a men's World Cup giant slalom, in Val D'Isere, France, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. American Bode Miller tripped over his skis near the bottom during the first run. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
Austria's Thomas Morgenstern waves to spectators after his final jump at the fourth stage of the four hills ski jumping tournament in Bischofshofen, Austria, Monday, Jan, 6, 2014. Morgenstern placed third and reached the second place in the overall standings of the four hills tour. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Panthers WR Smith: ‘I should be okay’ for tomorrow
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said his left knee feels “fine” and hopes to be ready to play tomorrow against San Francisco in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Smith says, “I will be all right. I should be okay.”
Smith, who has been coy about the injury all week and pulled some bizarre numbers out of thin air to describe his health, looked up at his jersey number yesterday and joked there’s an “89 percent” chance he’ll play against the 49ers.
Smith had estimated Wednesday he was 71 percent and then downgraded himself to 57 percent on Thursday before finally saying that, “Honestly, I just randomly pick numbers.”
League: 2 players violated concussion protocol
BOSTON – Two players violated league concussion protocol in last weekend’s wild-card games, according to a letter sent by the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee chairmen to all team doctors and trainers.
In a document obtained by the Associated Press, Dr. Hunt Batjer and Dr. Richard Ellenbogen say that one player actually re-entered the game and another refused to leave the sideline. The doctors did not identify the players, but Green Bay tackle David Bakhtiari returned to his game for an extra-point try despite being examined for a concussion.
Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis remained on the sideline but did not get back on the field.
The doctors “emphasize that we find no fault in how the team medical staffs conducted themselves last weekend.”
A-Rod suspension decision likely in next few days
NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez is likely to find out in the next few days whether his drug suspension will be overturned.
People familiar with the case told the Associated Press yesterday that arbitrator Fredric Horowitz could issue his decision this weekend. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
The New York Yankees third baseman, a three-time AL MVP, was suspended for 211 games on Aug. 5 by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. The penalty was given for alleged violations of the sport’s drug agreement and labor contract and followed Major League Baseball’s investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Yankees finalize deal with Thornton, cut Wells
NEW YORK – Left-hander Matt Thornton completed his $7 million, two-year contract with the New York Yankees, who cut outfielder Vernon Wells.
Thornton gets $3.5 million in each of the next two seasons under the deal, which was agreed to Dec. 17 and announced yesterday.
Wells, who was designated for assignment, was acquired last March from the Los Angeles Angels and hit .233 with 11 homers and 50 RBI in 424 at-bats. The 35-year-old, a three-time All-Star, became superfluous when the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to join an outfield that already included Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano.
New York is responsible for just $2.4 million of Wells’s $21 million salary in the final season of his $126 million, seven-year contract, with the Angels paying the Yankees $18.6 million as part of the trade last March.
‘Major announcement’ expected on Penn State coach
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Penn State’s search for a new football coach might be over.
University officials are summoning reporters who cover the team to Beaver Stadium for what it calls a “major announcement” this afternoon.
Penn State has been talking with Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin. Franklin is reportedly expected to be the successor to Bill O’Brien, who left for the NFL. Vanderbilt officials said Thursday night Franklin hadn’t made a decision.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson and Athletic Director Dave Joyner are to attend the news conference.
Ex-Iowa State player found dead at home
DALLAS – A former standout football player for Iowa State was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds this week in his East Texas home, a police official said yesterday.
The body of 28-year-old Jason Thomas Berryman was found Wednesday by family members who were visiting a relative living nearby, Jefferson Police Chief Joe C. Hall said. The police have released few details about the investigation, but Hall said no suspects have been identified.
Hall and Iowa State officials confirmed that Berryman played for the Cyclones, a career marked by stellar play but off-field arrests and jail time. The police chief said that in Jefferson, about 160 miles east of Dallas, Berryman “was a person that we were all familiar with” because of his police run-ins and the familiarity of a small town.
Berryman played during the 2003 and 2005 seasons at Iowa State before he was dismissed from the team. But in 2003, during his freshman year, he was the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and an All Big 12 honorable mention.
Kiffin to join Alabama as offensive coordinator
Alabama hired former Southern California coach Lane Kiffin yesterday as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Kiffin replaces Doug Nussmeier, who left Alabama for Michigan.
Kiffin spent a week in Tuscaloosa, Ala., last month exchanging ideas with Coach Nick Saban and his staff and observing Alabama’s offense.
The 38-year-old Kiffin was 28-15 in three-plus seasons with USC. He was fired five games into last season. He also was head coach at Tennessee and for the Oakland Raiders.
Rangers LHP Holland has knee surgery after fall
Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland will miss the start of the season after having surgery yesterday on his left knee.
The Rangers said Holland injured his knee in a fall on the stairs in his home earlier this week. In a statement, Holland called it a “freak accident.”
General Manager Jon Daniels said Holland has cartilage damage. Daniels said it’s too early to have an exact timetable for Holland’s return, but the Rangers expect the lefty to miss some time during the regular season and possibly not pitch until midseason.
Holland was 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in a team-high 33 starts last season. He pitched a career-high 213 innings.
Suns guard Bledsoe has surgery to repair meniscus
PHOENIX – Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
The Suns said yesterday’s surgery by team doctor Thomas Carter was successful. No timetable was given for Bledsoe’s return but the team said in a news release that he “will pursue a possible return to action during the second half” of the season.
Bledsoe was having the finest season of his career after being acquired by the Suns from the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason, averaging 18 points and 5.8 assists per game.
Miller clear for all Alpine races at Olympics
ADELBODEN, Switzerland – Bode Miller was cleared to race in all five Alpine events at the Sochi Olympics, including defending his super-combined title.
The International Ski Federation clarified its qualification rules after confusion this week about whether some top racers had achieved enough results.
FIS men’s race director Guenter Hujara said Miller’s status on the injury list throughout last season was taken into consideration.
Miller, who won three medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, needed FIS approval to defend his super-combined gold next month.
Morgenstern hospitalized after crash
TAUPLITZ, Austria – Three-time Olympic ski jump champion Thomas Morgenstern of Austria was hospitalized with skull injuries and a bruised lung yesterday after crashing during training for this weekend’s ski flying World Cup.
“Thomas Morgenstern is conscious and well responsive,” the Austrian ski federation said in statement hours after the incident, adding the athlete’s condition would be monitored in the intensive care unit of a Salzburg hospital for the next 72 hours.
Morgenstern’s injuries were not life-threatening, head of clinic Josef Obrist told the Austria Press Agency.
During his second training jump of the day, the 27-year-old Morgenstern lost his balance in the air, turned over to the left and landed on his back and head. He briefly lost consciousness but was able to speak shortly afterward.
Pironkova wins Sydney title; Del Potro into final
SYDNEY – Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova beat fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-4, 6-4, yesterday to win her first WTA title at the Sydney International.
Pironkova, who was ranked outside the top 100 despite reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2010, beat three top 10 players in Sydney, 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Kerber.
Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro will meet reigning champion Bernard Tomic in the men’s final.
The 2009 U.S. Open champion had a 6-4, 6-2 semifinal win yesterday over fourth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov. Tomic had a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-3 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky, who last year beat Roger Federer in the second round at Wimbledon.
Stuard surges to the early lead at Sony Open
HONOLULU – Brian Stuard had his fourth straight round of 65 at the Sony Open. Too bad it was only Friday.
Stuard finished his second round with a hybrid into 2 feet for eagle and a 5-under 65. That gave him a one-shot lead over Marc Leishman of Australia among those who played early on another gorgeous day on Oahu.
Stuard, who was at 10-under 130, had a 65-65 weekend at Waialae last year when he tied for fifth.
Leishman had a 64, while Jason Kokrak (67) was another shot behind. Hudson Swafford had a 64 and was in the group at 6-under 134.
Osmond wins Canadian women’s short program
OTTAWA, Ontario – Kaetlyn Osmond won the women’s singles short program yesterday in the Canadian figure skating championships.
Coming off an ankle injury and a torn hamstring, the 18-year-old Osmond landed a triple flip-triple toe loop combination, then a triple Lutz to score 70.3 points for her ’60s-inspired performance to “Big Spender” and “Rich Man’s Frug.”
Amelie Lacoste was second at 61.27, followed by 15-year-old Gabrielle Daleman at 58.38.
Canada has two berths in women’s singles for the Sochi Olympics.