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Toronto Maple Leafs' David Clarkson (71) looks up in the middle of a battle with the Buffalo Sabres during the third period of an NHL hockey preseason game in Toronto on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Toronto Maple Leafs' David Clarkson (71) looks up in the middle of a battle with the Buffalo Sabres during the third period of an NHL hockey preseason game in Toronto on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)


Indians’ Masterson to return in relief role following oblique strain

CLEVELAND – Indians All-Star starter Justin Masterson will return from an injury and pitch in relief during the team’s playoff push.

With Cleveland fighting for a postseason spot, Masterson, sidelined with a strained oblique muscle since Sept. 2, will join Cleveland’s bullpen. Manager Terry Francona said the right-hander could appear in a game as early as today. The Indians have managed to stay in the playoff chase without their ace, who is looking forward to coming back and helping in any way he can.

While Masterson would love to start again this season, Francona indicated the only way that will happen is if the Indians play deep into October.

Masterson is 14-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts.


Cowboys’ Spencer out for season

IRVING, Texas – Dallas defensive end Anthony Spencer will have season-ending surgery on his left knee and may have played his last game for the Cowboys.

Spencer’s agent, Jordan Woy, says doctors have a “good idea” what type of surgery but were still considering options. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke on his radio show, saying Spencer was likely to have microfracture surgery.

The 29-year-old Spencer is on a one-year contract with the franchise tag for the second straight season, so he will be a free agent when he’s healthy again.

Spencer had arthroscopic surgery July 25 and missed the preseason and the opener against the Giants. He played more than half the game in Week 2 against Kansas City before he was sidelined again.


Concussion could sideline Pryor for Raiders game on Sunday

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders will begin a short week of preparation with uncertainty about who will start at quarterback as Terrelle Pryor recovers from a concussion.

Pryor was knocked out of Monday night’s 37-21 loss at Denver in the fourth quarter after a hard hit to the helmet by Wesley Woodyard and was replaced by Matt Flynn.

Pryor will not be able to practice until he goes through the league-mandated concussion protocol. That means the Raiders (1-2) will have to prepare for Sunday’s game against Washington (0-3) with the possibility that either Pryor or Flynn could start.

Coach Dennis Allen said he will have a better idea today about Pryor’s status but that no final determination will be made until later this week.


Steelers RB Bell could be ready for Vikings game in London

PITTSBURGH – Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell could make his long-awaited debut with the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend when the team faces Minnesota in London.

Coach Mike Tomlin said yesterday the team is “optimistic” Bell will be available. The second-round draft pick hasn’t played since spraining his right foot in a preseason game against Washington on Aug. 19.

Bell has been cleared to participate in practice this week. The Steelers could use help in the running game to take pressure off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh ranks 31st in the NFL in yards rushing, averaging just 51.6 per game through the first three weeks of the season.


Source: Pacers, George agree to new contract; terms not disclosed

INDIANAPOLIS – Paul George wanted to keep playing in Indiana. Larry Bird made sure he wasn’t going anywhere.

The Pacers star forward agreed yesterday to a long-term contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because it won’t be officially announced until today. Terms were not immediately available, but he is eligible for a five-year deal worth between $80 million to $90 million, depending on the salary cap.

George’s rookie deal was set to expire after next season and the 23-year-old All-Star almost certainly would have been one of most attractive players on the free-agent market.

The 6-foot-8 forward was a key player off the bench as a rookie, then emerged as a solid starter in his second season and last year averaged career-highs of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists.


Army coach fired over behavior

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Officials at West Point said baseball Head Coach Joe Sottolano was fired for failing to meet the academy’s standards of behavior.

Army Director Of Athletics Boo Corrigan announced yesterday that Sottolano was relieved immediately for behavior “that does not meet the standards of what we demand of our senior leaders and role models at West Point.”

U.S. Military Academy officials would not specify what Sottolano did. Lt. Col. Webster Wright, a spokesman for West Point, told the Associated Press it involved a “pattern of behavior.” He said there were no criminal charges and no cadets were involved.

Associate head coach Matt Reid will become interim head coach through the 2014 spring season.

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