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42 minutes ago

Shakur Stevenson, Oscar Valdez working to finalize title unification fight, sources say

Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez are in the process of finalizing a deal for a 130-pound title unification fight on April 30 in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN on Sunday. Sources said no financial agreement has been reached for the proposed ESPN main event. After Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) scored a brutal knockout of Miguel Berchelt in February to claim a junior lightweight title, Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) publicly lobbied for the title opportunity. Instead, Stevenson settled for a shot at Jamel Herring, another 130-pound titleholder promoted by Top Rank. Stevenson, 24, seized his chance with the best performance of his career, a 10th-round TKO of Herring in October. Long dogged by criticism that he doesn't fight aggressively, the Newark, New Jersey, native applied nonstop pressure during the one-sided beating. Now, Stevenson is on the verge of landing the fight he wanted all along but with two belts on the line. While the Olympic silver medalist enters the potential fight with momentum...
42 minutes ago
3 hours ago

Sources: Brooklyn Nets expect Kevin Durant to miss 4-6 weeks with sprained MCL

After the Brooklyn Nets diagnosed All-NBA forward Kevin Durant with a sprained MCL of his left knee, the franchise expects a four- to six-week rehabilitation before his return, sources told ESPN. Durant underwent imaging on Sunday morning after Saturday night's injury, and a realistic benchmark for Durant could be a return following the All-Star break (Feb. 18-23), sources said. Nevertheless, the organization will err on the side of caution when it comes to Durant's return. There was relief around the Nets that the injury wasn't more serious, and hopefulness that he will make a full return to health in plenty of time for the playoffs. Durant left Saturday night's game after teammate Bruce Brown fell into his knee on a play in the second quarter. Brooklyn plays 11 of its next 14 games on the road, and thus it expects to have a Kyrie Irving- James Harden backcourt together for those games. Irving is playing only road games because of his...
3 hours ago
4 hours ago

Philadelphia Eagles DE Josh Sweat out vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers after hospital stay

TAMPA, Fla. -- Philadelphia Eagles starting defensive end Josh Sweat will miss Sunday's playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after undergoing a medical procedure to address what the team described as a "life-threatening situation." "On Tuesday night, Josh Sweat was admitted to the hospital. He underwent an emergency procedure due to the severity of the matter. The doctors addressed a life-threatening situation," the Eagles said in a statement. "In the following days, Josh and our medical team did everything possible to help him return to play. He improved every day but it was determined by the doctors today that he was not quite ready. The fact that Josh came so close to playing is a credit to his toughness and our medical staff." Sweat had been listed on the injury report with an illness this week. On Friday, coach Nick Sirianni said Sweat had been dealing with abdominal pain earlier in the week but had since returned to the facility and was...
4 hours ago
January 16

Brooklyn Nets say Kevin Durant diagnosed with sprained MCL

After having an MRI,  Kevin Durant has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his left knee, the Brooklyn Nets announced Sunday morning. The Nets did not disclose an estimated timetable for their star forward's return, only saying he "is expected to return to full strength following a period of rehabilitation" and that updates would be "provided as appropriate." A source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, however, that there is optimism within the Nets that it will be a four-to-six-week rehab and return for Durant. The Nets come out of the All-Star break on Feb. 24 and that's a realistic benchmark for a Durant return. Durant suffered the injury in the second quarter of the Nets' 120-105 victory over the Pelicans on Saturday as Pelicans guard Herb Jones drove to the basket and collided with Nets guard Bruce Brown, who fell backward into Durant, who was standing behind the play. The injury overshadows what had been a strong return for the former...
January 16
January 16

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick plans to continue coaching as he approaches 70

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick, who turns 70 in April, said he still wants to coach in 2022 and will begin the process of moving forward after his New England Patriots team was rocked by the Buffalo Bills  47-17 in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs Saturday night. Belichick, the NFL's longest-tenured head coach, notably once said he didn't plan to coach into his 70s like former Bills coach Marv Levy. He later softened those remarks. Asked Sunday morning whether it's safe to say he wants to return next season, he replied: "I'd say that would be accurate." Upon the team's return home from Orchard Park, New York, Belichick held a 30-minute season-ending video conference in which he reflected on the Patriots' 10-8 campaign, his 22nd as head coach. He said he planned to take "a longer view" while noting that the blowout loss was troubling. "You could argue there were elements of last night's game in some other games, but last night's game was the...
January 16
January 16

Jerome Boger, officials from Raiders-Bengals game not expected to work again this NFL postseason

Referee Jerome Boger and the crew that worked the AFC wild-card game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals are not expected to officiate again this postseason after their problematic performance Saturday highlighted by a controversial whistle. The NFL grades officials after each game, and Boger and his crew are not expected to receive high marks for Saturday, when they ruled that a whistle occurred after Cincinnati's Tyler Boyd caught a touchdown from Joe Burrow -- although replays appeared to show otherwise. The league usually takes officials assigned to the divisional round -- not the wild-card round -- to work the Super Bowl. But officials that earn high grades this weekend could and would be under consideration for the Super Bowl. One league source did not express surprise at Boger's performance; others around the league have commented on it during various points of the season, and the NFL has received mixed reviews for...
January 16
January 16

Novak Djokovic leaves Australia, 'disappointed' after court dismisses deportation appeal

MELBOURNE, Australia --  Novak Djokovic's final bid to avoid deportation and play in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19 ended Sunday when a court unanimously dismissed the No. 1-ranked tennis player's challenge of a government minister's decision to cancel his visa. Djokovic said he was "extremely disappointed" by the ruling but respected it. He released a statement shortly after three Federal Court judges unanimously upheld a decision made Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic's visa on public interest grounds because he is not vaccinated. Djokovic, 34, has won a record nine Australian Open titles -- including three in a row -- but he won't get the chance to try for a 10th this year. Hawke confirmed Sunday that Djokovic "has now departed Australia." A masked Djokovic was photographed in a Melbourne airport lounge with two government officials in black uniforms. He left at approximately 11 p.m. local time on an Emirates...
January 16
January 16

Novak Djokovic 'disappointed' as court dismisses deportation appeal in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia --  Novak Djokovic's final bid to avoid deportation and play in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated for COVID-19 ended Sunday when a court unanimously dismissed the No. 1-ranked tennis player's challenge of a government minister's decision to cancel his visa. Djokovic said he was "extremely disappointed" by the ruling but respected it. He released a statement shortly after three Federal Court judges unanimously upheld a decision made Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel the 34-year-old's visa on public interest grounds because he is not vaccinated. Djokovic has won a record nine Australian Open titles, including three in a row, but this time won't even get the chance to try. Hawke confirmed Sunday that Djokovic "has now departed Australia." A masked Djokovic was photographed in a Melbourne airport lounge with two government officials in black uniforms. He left at approximately 11 p.m. local time on an Emirates flight to Dubai,...
January 16
January 16

Novak Djokovic loses deportation appeal in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia --  Novak Djokovic's hopes of playing at the Australian Open were dashed Sunday after a court dismissed the top-ranked tennis star's appeal against a deportation order. Three Federal Court judges unanimously upheld a decision made on Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel the 34-year-old Serb's visa on public interest grounds. The decision likely means that Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, will remain in detention in Melbourne until he is deported. Deportation usually occurs as soon as possible after an order unless prevented by court action. The government has not said when Djokovic will leave. A deportation order also usually includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia. Djokovic issued a statement shortly after the ruling was announced, saying he would be "taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this." "I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss...
January 16
January 16

Los Angeles Lakers' Russell Westbrook says no reaction after Magic Johnson rips team's effort

DENVER -- After the Los Angeles Lakers' 37-point loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, the second-biggest defeat of LeBron James' 19-year career, another franchise great weighed in with his disgust. "We as Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency," Magic Johnson tweeted to his 5.1 million followers. "Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better." James, who had a team-high 25 points and nine rebounds but shot 9-for-23 (including 2-for-8 from 3), exited the arena without speaking to reporters. That left Russell Westbrook to be asked about Johnson's tweet. "I do not have a reaction," said Westbrook, who scored 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting, an improvement from his recent shooting slump. "Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is. You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you...
January 16
January 15

Buffalo Bills make playoff history with 7 touchdown drives in blowout win vs. New England Patriots

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills didn't just beat the New England Patriots on Saturday. They made a statement to the entire NFL. The Bills dominated the teams' third meeting in 41 days, winning 47-17 to move on to the divisional round of the playoffs. Buffalo scored a touchdown on all seven of its possessions outside of a kneel-down at the end of the game, becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to score a TD on each of its first seven drives of a playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Bills also became the first team in NFL history to go an entire playoff game without a punt, field goal or turnover. "It's not often in coaching you can enjoy the last six minutes of a game and kind of look up in the stands and see the fans enjoying it and at home," coach Sean McDermott said. "I'm happy for them more than anything. For us as a team this year, it's one game. That's a good football team and they've been at the top for so long. So,...
January 15
January 15

Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby want Rich Bisaccia back as Las Vegas Raiders' head coach: 'He held it together'

CINCINNATI --  Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby both heartily endorsed Rich Bisaccia retaining the head-coaching job permanently following Las Vegas' season-ending 26-19 loss to the  Cincinnati Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday night. Bisaccia was promoted from special teams coordinator to interim head coach following Jon Gruden's resignation on Oct. 11.  "I think we can all think that he's the right guy," Carr said of Bisaccia. "He's proven that people listen to him. Our team listens to him. And I love him so much, I'm thankful for him. All those things will be decisions that I don't make, I don't get to make. I just play quarterback ... but with everything that went on, if you really look at what happened, all the pieces missing, everything that changed, yeah, he held it together." Carr referenced the Raiders losing starting guards Richie Incognito and ...
January 15
January 15

Cincinnati Bengals' Zac Taylor rewards team's patience with first playoff win in 31 years

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals showed patience with Zac Taylor after just six wins in his first two years as their head coach. Following Saturday's 26-19 wild-card win over the Las Vegas Raiders, Taylor said the opportunity to coach a third season, one that produced an AFC North title and the franchise's first playoff win in 31 years, likely wouldn't have happened elsewhere in the NFL. "Personally, if I coached at any other organization in football, I probably wouldn't be here right now in the third year," Taylor said. "That's the truth." Taylor said he gave a game ball to team president Mike Brown, who stuck with Taylor after two seasons filled with losses. The third-year coach said he and the coaching staff owe so much to Brown for the patience he exhibited despite 25 losses in their first two campaigns. After the Bengals went 4-11-1 in 2020, Brown issued a statement offering a vote of confidence in Taylor and said the franchise was "bullish" on Taylor's...
January 15
January 15

Kevin Durant (left knee sprain) set to undergo MRI, while Brooklyn Nets 'hope for the best outcome'

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant injured his left knee during the second quarter of his team's 120-105 win Saturday over the New Orleans Pelicans. The team called it a sprain, and it occurred with just under six minutes left in the quarter as Pelicans guard  Herb Jones drove to the basket and collided with Nets guard Bruce Brown, who fell backward into Durant, who was standing behind the play. Nets coach Steve Nash said Durant would undergo an MRI Sunday morning. "Of course it would be tough to lose him," Nash said after the game. "No one wants to see that and we'll obviously hope for the best outcome, but regardless of the outcome we have to continue to work, build and grow and get better and compete." Durant left Barclays Center about midway through the fourth quarter, walking with a limp on his way to a waiting car. He sounded hopeful that the injury wasn't too serious, but was unsure at this point if he would be able...
January 15
January 15

Calvin Kattar shuts out Giga Chikadze in unanimous-decision win at UFC Fight Night

LAS VEGAS -- Coming off a year of inactivity and the worst loss of his career, Calvin Kattar proved he's still a major player in the UFC's featherweight division. Kattar (23-5) became the first man to hand Giga Chikadze (14-3) a loss inside the UFC Octagon on Saturday, as he dominated the Georgian contender over the course of a five-round unanimous decision. All three judges scored it a sweep for Kattar, via scores of 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45. The 145-pound scrap headlined UFC Fight Night inside the Apex. The victory came almost one year to the day after Kattar, 33, absorbed 445 total strikes in a devastating loss to former champion Max Holloway. "I feel great," Kattar said. "He's a tough fighter, 7-0 in the UFC. They all counted me out in this fight. Like I've been saying, everybody counting me out doesn't matter. As long as you believe in yourself that's all that matters." Going into the weekend, Chikadze had looked like a serious title threat. A karate...
January 15
January 15

Brooklyn Nets lose Kevin Durant to left knee sprain in second quarter vs. New Orleans Pelicans

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant injured his left knee during the second quarter of his team's  120-105 win Saturday over the New Orleans Pelicans. The team called it a sprain, and it occurred with just under six minutes left in the quarter as Pelicans guard Herb Jones drove to the basket and collided with Nets guard Bruce Brown, who fell backward into Durant, who was standing behind the play. Durant will undergo an MRI on Sunday, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Brooklyn's leading scorer attempted to stay in the game for a few moments, walking around, trying to loosen the knee up, but he headed over to the bench and checked himself out shortly thereafter. Durant went straight back to the locker room to be checked out. Durant left Barclays Center about midway through the fourth quarter, walking with a limp on his way to a waiting car. He sounded hopeful that the injury wasn't too serious, but was unsure at...
January 15
January 15

No. 1 Baylor Bears make men's college basketball history with second home loss in week

WACO, Texas -- Baylor became the first AP No. 1 team in men's college basketball history to lose two home games in a week after Oklahoma State stunned them Saturday with a 61-54 victory. Baylor (15-2, 3-2 Big 12) had won a national-best 21 games in a row dating back to last season before its loss Tuesday night at home to  Texas Tech. The reigning national and Big 12 champions led for only 16 seconds Saturday against an Oklahoma State team playing its third Big 12 road game in five days while traveling more than 3,200 miles.  After trailing by as many as 17 points in the second half, the Bears were within 55-54 with 1:21 left when  LJ Cryer made two free throws to cap a 14-2 run. They didn't score again. "They're not very happy,'' Bears senior Matthew Mayer said when asked the mood of the coaches. "We dug ourselves in a big hole. ... If the hole wasn't that big, then we would have been able to win the game,'' said Cryer, who had 18...
January 15
January 15

Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp fails to clear concussion protocol, will miss playoff game

Los Angeles Rams free safety Taylor Rapp did not clear concussion protocol this week and has been ruled out for Monday night's wild-card playoff game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. Rapp suffered a concussion in the Rams' overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. They also lost strong safety Jordan Fuller to a season-ending ankle injury in that game, meaning they'll be without both starting safeties. The team lists backup running back Buddy Howell (hamstring) as doubtful. Receiver Van Jefferson (shoulder) is listed as questionable, but coach Sean McVay expects him to play and said everyone else should be available. McVay called Rapp's absence a "big loss" and added that "he's doing everything in his power to get back as quickly as possible." Fuller (113) and Rapp (94) were the Rams' top two tacklers this season while playing 16 and 17 games, respectively. Rapp shared the team lead in interceptions (four) with...
January 15
January 15

Former Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Mario Williams announces transfer to USC Trojans

Former  Oklahoma wide receiver Mario Williams is transferring to USC, where he will reunite with coach Lincoln Riley, he announced Saturday on social media.  Williams signed with Riley at Oklahoma as part of the 2021 class. He was the No. 17 prospect overall and the No. 1 receiver, according to ESPN's rankings. In his true freshman season, Williams had 35 receptions, 380 yards and 4 touchdowns in 12 games. He entered the transfer portal on Jan. 4, a day after freshman quarterback Caleb Williams announced his intention to transfer from Oklahoma as well. Caleb Williams visited USC and UCLA recently while his family was on vacation in Los Angeles, but he has not yet announced his next destination. Mario and Caleb Williams are among Oklahoma players who have elected to transfer since Riley's departure. That list includes quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner, who both transferred to South...
January 15
January 15

Pittsburgh Steelers activate wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster ahead of wild-card game at Kansas City

PITTSBURGH -- What seemed impractical in October is a reality in January. After suffering what was thought to be a season-ending shoulder injury against the Denver Broncos in Week 5,  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver  JuJu Smith-Schuster was activated off injured reserve on Saturday. Smith-Schuster is expected to play against the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card matchup Sunday night. Running back Najee Harris (elbow) -- previously listed as questionable -- was also removed from the Steelers' injury report and is expected to play Sunday. "God answered my prayers [and] I've recovered from my season-ending shoulder injury earlier than expected," Smith-Schuster tweeted Saturday afternoon. "I can't believe I get another chance to take the field with this team and play in a playoff game to keep our season alive." Though he is available to play, Smith-Schuster will likely be on a snap count. Still, his addition is a boost for the...
January 15
January 15

Former Oklahoma Sooners WR Mario Williams announces transfer to USC Trojans

Former  Oklahoma wide receiver Mario Williams is transferring to USC, where he will reunite with coach Lincoln Riley, he announced Saturday on social media.  Williams signed with Riley at Oklahoma as part of the 2021 class. He was the No. 17 prospect overall and the No. 1 receiver, according to ESPN's rankings. In his true freshman season, Williams had 35 receptions, 380 yards and 4 touchdowns in 12 games. He entered the transfer portal on Jan. 4, a day after freshman quarterback Caleb Williams announced his intention to transfer from Oklahoma as well. Caleb Williams visited USC and UCLA recently while his family was on vacation in Los Angeles, but has not yet announced his next destination. Mario and Caleb are among Oklahoma players who have elected to transfer since Riley's departure. That list includes quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner, who both transferred to South Carolina, as...
January 15
January 15

MRI shows no structural damage to knee of Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine

CHICAGO -- Bulls guard Zach LaVine is not expected to miss significant time after an MRI on Saturday morning showed no structural damage to his left knee.  LaVine will be reevaluated early next week, the team said. LaVine did not travel with the team for its game Saturday night in Boston, and he will begin targeted therapy on his knee before the Bulls can offer a more definitive timeline. LaVine landed awkwardly while grabbing an offensive rebound during the first quarter of Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors. He took an intentional foul on the next play before taking himself out of the game. The Bulls were optimistic after Friday's game that LaVine had avoided a major injury, but wanted to proceed with caution considering LaVine tore the ACL in the same knee in 2017 while playing for the Timberwolves. In 38 games for Chicago this season, LaVine is averaging 24.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 49% from the...
January 15
January 15

Dallas Mavericks get Kristaps Porzingis, coach Jason Kidd back from health and safety protocols

DALLAS -- Mavericks power forward/center Kristaps Porzingis has cleared the NBA's health and safety protocols after missing the past seven games and is expected to play in Saturday night's home game against the Orlando Magic. Mavericks coach Jason Kidd also cleared the protocols. Dallas won six of the seven games missed by Porzingis, who is averaging 20.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. The Mavs went 3-1 during Kidd's absence, when defensive coordinator Sean Sweeney served as the acting head coach. A source said Porzingis felt well in recent days and had been able to do individual workouts. Porzingis' clearance makes center Marquese Chriss ineligible to play for the Mavericks while he remains on a 10-day hardship deal that expires Thursday. Sources said the Mavericks are considering their options to sign Chriss for the remainder of the season, which would require a move to create an open roster spot. Chriss has played in 12 games over three...
January 15
January 15

Black college basketball coaches hopeful over recent hiring trends for minority candidates

Some of America's top Black men's and women's college basketball coaches said they're hopeful about recent hiring trends for minority coaches but also know they'll face pressure to win for those trends to continue. After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, schools around the country vowed to do more to invest in diversity. Last year, more than 51% of the coaching vacancies in men's basketball and 47% of the coaching vacancies in women's basketball were filled by Black coaches. "I'm confident it's going to stick in the years to come because my expectation is that we're going to be successful," said Duke women's basketball coach Kara Lawson, as part of ESPN's Martin Luther King Jr. roundtable that aired Saturday on College GameDay. "So I have a lot of confidence in the men and women around the country that have gotten these opportunities. And I think, although success has been ignored in the past, I think it's getting harder and harder to ignore the success...
January 15
January 15

Black basketball coaches hopeful over recent hiring trends for minority candidates

Some of America's top Black men's and women's basketball coaches said they're hopeful about recent hiring trends for minority coaches but also know they'll face pressure to win for those trends to continue. After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, schools around the country vowed to do more to invest in diversity. Last year, more than 51% of the coaching vacancies in men's basketball and 47% of the coaching vacancies in women's basketball were filled by Black coaches. "I'm confident it's going to stick in the years to come because my expectation is that we're going to be successful," said Duke women's basketball coach Kara Lawson, as part of ESPN's Martin Luther King Jr. roundtable that aired Saturday on College Gameday. "So I have a lot of confidence in the men and women around the country that have gotten these opportunities. And I think, although success has been ignored in the past, I think it's getting harder and harder to ignore the success that minority...
January 15
January 15

Joe B. Hall, who won national college basketball titles at Kentucky as player and coach, dies at 93

Joe B. Hall, who succeeded legendary coach Adolph Rupp at Kentucky and led the Wildcats to an NCAA men's basketball championship, has died at the age of 93. Hall is one of only three men to both play on and coach an NCAA championship team (1949, 1978) and is the only one to do so for the same school. "It is with great sadness we share the passing of the great Joe B. Hall," the Kentucky men's basketball team tweeted. "Our hearts are with the Hall family. We love you, Joe B." Current Wildcats coach John Calipari tweeted that Hall was "my friend, my mentor, and an icon in our state and in our profession." He added that he met with Hall on Thursday. "He understood everything that was said, and as I prayed for him, he squeezed my hand tight," Calipari wrote. During his 13 years as Kentucky coach, from 1972 to 1985, Hall led the team to 297 victories. The most memorable was the 1978 NCAA title in which Hall led the Wildcats to their fifth...
January 15
January 15

Joe B. Hall, who won national titles at Kentucky as player and coach, dies at 93

Joe B. Hall, who succeeded legendary coach Adolph Rupp at Kentucky and led the Wildcats to a NCAA men's basketball championship, has died at the age of 93. Hall is one of only three men to both play on and coach an NCAA championship team (1949, '78) and the only one to do so for the same school. "It is with great sadness we share the passing of the great Joe B. Hall," the Kentucky men's basketball team tweeted. "Our hearts are with the Hall family. We love you, Joe B." Current Wildcats coach John Calipari tweeted that Hall was "my friend, my mentor, and an icon in our state and in our profession." During his 13 years as Kentucky coach, from 1972 to 1985, Hall led the team to 297 victories. The most memorable was the 1978 NCAA title in which Hall led the Wildcats to their fifth championship. Hall followed in the colossal footsteps of Rupp, who won 876 games over 41 seasons at Kentucky. Hall had coached at Central Missouri State and Regis before Rupp...
January 15
January 15

Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors football coach Todd Graham resigns amid allegations of mistreating players

Hawai'i football coach Todd Graham, facing mounting allegations of mistreating players in the program, resigned Friday after two seasons with the school. Graham's decision comes a week after a state senate hearing in which former players provided testimony alleging verbal abuse and other problems within the culture of the football program. Athletic director David Matlin and other administrators remained supportive of Graham despite the allegations and the departures of 17 players via the NCAA's transfer portal since November. In a statement, Graham said he was not asked to step down following two seasons and an 11-11 record. He had three years left on a five-year contract and was earning $800,000 annually. "Our staff poured our hearts and souls into our players and truly made a difference in their lives," Graham said in a prepared statement. "I could not have asked more of their commitment, work ethic and love for our players and football program. But it is clear to me that I must...
January 15
January 15

Joel Embiid: 'No urgency to change anything' on surging Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA -- After beating the Boston Celtics to win for the ninth time in 11 games Friday night, 76ers superstar Joel Embiid said "there's really no urgency to change anything" with his team with just under four weeks to go until the NBA's trade deadline. "I feel great, man," Embiid said, after finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists in Philadelphia's comfortable 111-99 victory over its old rivals here at Wells Fargo Center. "When I look at where we are when we got most of the team in the lineup, especially me in the lineup, then we are 21 and 9. That's not bad. That's up there with the best records in the NBA. So, all that tells me is that we just got to stay healthy, keep doing what we've been doing. "I feel pretty good, and I don't think we've played our best basketball yet. We still got a long way to go. We're missing guys here and there that could really help us. There's really no urgency to change anything. I think we got everything we...
January 15
January 15

Colorado women's basketball team, last unbeaten in D-I, falls to No. 2 Stanford

The last undefeated team in Division I men's or women's basketball fell Friday. The No. 22 Colorado women, who entered the night 13-0, lost to No. 2 Stanford 60-52 in Boulder, Colorado. The Cardinal, 12-3 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12, were the first ranked team the Buffaloes played this season. All three of Stanford's losses came against ranked teams: Texas, South Florida and South Carolina. The No. 1 Gamecocks lost their only game so far Dec. 30 in overtime at Missouri. Three women's teams entered the new year unbeaten: Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina. The Tar Heels fell to No. 5 NC State on Jan. 6, and the Wildcats lost to USC on Jan. 9. "I am not one for moral victories. I am always looking for things that we did well, and there will be a slew of things that we did well,'' Colorado coach JR Payne said. "There also will be a lot of things that we need to learn from and grow." Last January, Colorado defeated Stanford in Boulder in overtime, one of just two losses for the...
January 15
January 15

Joel Embiid: 'No urgency to change anything' on surging Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA -- After beating the Boston Celtics to win for the ninth time in 11 games Friday night, 76ers superstar Joel Embiid said "there's really no urgency to change anything" with his team with just under four weeks to go until the NBA's trade deadline. "I feel great, man," Embiid said, after finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists in Philadelphia's comfortable 111-99 victory over its old rivals here at Wells Fargo Center. "When I look at where we are when we got most of the team in the lineup, especially me in the lineup, then we are 21 and 9. That's not bad. That's up there with the best records in the NBA. So, all that tells me is that we just got to stay healthy, keep doing what we've been doing. "I feel pretty good, and I don't think we've played our best basketball yet. We still got a long way to go. We're missing guys here and there that could really help us. There's really no urgency to change anything. I think we got everything we...
January 15
January 15

Colorado women's basketball team, last unbeaten in D-I, falls to No. 2 Stanford

The last undefeated team in Division I men's or women's basketball fell Friday. The No. 22 Colorado women, who entered the night 13-0, lost to No. 2 Stanford 60-52 in Boulder, Colorado. The Cardinal, 12-3 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12, were the first ranked team the Buffaloes played this season. All three of Stanford's losses came against ranked teams: Texas, South Florida and South Carolina. The No. 1 Gamecocks lost their only game so far Dec. 30 in overtime at Missouri. Three women's teams entered the new year unbeaten: Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina. The Tar Heels fell to No. 5 NC State on Jan. 6, and the Wildcats lost to USC on Jan. 9. Last January, Colorado defeated Stanford in Boulder in overtime, one of just two losses for the eventual national champion Cardinal. Haley Jones, last year's women's Final Four most outstanding player, led Stanford on Friday with 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Stanford trailed 15-8 after one quarter, and 28-24 at halftime....
January 15
January 14

Chicago Bulls star guard Zach LaVine to have MRI on injured left knee

CHICAGO -- Bulls guard Zach LaVine exited Friday's 138-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.  LaVine did not travel with the team to Boston for its matchup against the Celtics on Saturday night, and instead will remain in Chicago to receive an MRI. There's initial confidence that he hasn't suffered a serious injury, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. LaVine appeared to begin laboring after grabbing an offensive rebound with just under nine minutes remaining in the first quarter. On the next play, he took an intentional foul on Warriors guard Stephen Curry before taking himself out of the game. He immediately walked toward the Bulls' locker room with a team trainer, but LaVine was able to move under his own power.  "The MRI will tell a lot more once he gets that done," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said after the game. "I don't want to sit here and speculate ... he kind of came down a...
January 14
January 14

Sources: Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine to have MRI on injured left knee

CHICAGO -- Bulls guard Zach LaVine exited Friday's 138-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.  LaVine will get an MRI on Saturday, but there's initial confidence that he hasn't suffered a serious injury, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.  LaVine appeared to begin laboring after grabbing an offensive rebound with just under nine minutes remaining in the first quarter. On the next play, he took an intentional foul on Warriors guard Stephen Curry before taking himself out of the game. He immediately walked toward the Bulls' locker room with a team trainer, but LaVine was able to move under his own power.  LaVine is averaging 25.6 points on 49% shooting (41% from 3), 4.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 37 games for the Bulls this season. The Bulls are already without guard Alex Caruso (health and safety), Derrick Jones Jr. (knee), Javonte Green (groin) and ...
January 14
January 14

Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine ruled out vs. Golden State Warriors after injuring left knee

CHICAGO -- Bulls guard Zach LaVine exited Friday's 138-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.  LaVine will get an MRI on Saturday, but there's initial confidence that he hasn't suffered a serious injury, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.  LaVine appeared to begin laboring after grabbing an offensive rebound with just under nine minutes remaining in the first quarter. On the next play, he took an intentional foul on Warriors guard Stephen Curry before taking himself out of the game. He immediately walked toward the Bulls' locker room with a team trainer, but LaVine was able to move under his own power.  LaVine is averaging 25.6 points on 49% shooting (41% from 3), 4.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 37 games for the Bulls this season. The Bulls are already without guard Alex Caruso (health and safety), Derrick Jones Jr. (knee), Javonte Green (groin) and ...
January 14
January 14

Houston Texans interview Brian Flores for head-coaching vacancy

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans have interviewed Brian Flores for their head coach opening, the team announced Friday night. The interview took place a day after the Texans fired David Culley for what general manager Nick Caserio called "philosophical differences." Flores, who was fired by the Miami Dolphins on Monday after he went 24-25 in three seasons, also interviewed for the Chicago Bears' vacant coach job on Friday. Earlier in the day, Caserio said his decision to fire Culley had nothing to do with who would be available to replace him. "Those are independent entities," Caserio said. "I don't think you make said decision based on all of a sudden something that has changed or something is different. I think you have to first start with your situation, evaluate it, make an honest assessment, make the decision and then if that so happens to be in conjunction with other things that happen in the league, that's out of our control, out of my...
January 14
January 14

UCLA Bruins, Chip Kelly agree to four-year extension through 2025

UCLA and head football coach Chip Kelly have agreed on a four-year contract extension through the 2025 season, the school announced Friday. "This new contract represents the commitment, stability and investment needed to continue the upward trajectory of our football program," athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement. "Since joining UCLA, our football team's winning percentage has increased every year, including increased momentum in recruiting and strategic use of the transfer portal."  The extension comes a day before Kelly's buyout was set to drop to $0, as he entered the final year of his initial deal. The new contract will pay Kelly an average of $4.7 million annually, a source told ESPN. His salary in 2021 was $5.6 million. UCLA has posted a 18-25 record in Kelly's four years. The Bruins' 8-4 record in 2021 was their first winning season since Kelly replaced former coach Jim Mora in 2018. "We are extremely appreciative of the entire UCLA administration for...
January 14
January 14

Novak Djokovic appeal of canceled visa moves to higher court

MELBOURNE, Australia --  Novak Djokovic was reported to be back in immigration detention Saturday after his legal challenge to avoid being deported from Australia for being unvaccinated for COVID-19 was moved to a higher court. A Federal Court hearing has been set for Sunday at 9:30 a.m. local time (5:30 p.m. EST on Saturday), a day before the men's No. 1-ranked tennis player and nine-time Australian Open champion was due to begin his title defense at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year.  Justice David O'Callaghan said on Saturday the court will liaise with all parties on the question of whether the proceeding had to be heard by a single judge or full court later in the day. Police closed down a lane behind the building where Djokovic's lawyers are based and two vehicles exited the building mid-afternoon local time on Saturday. In television footage, Djokovic could be seen wearing a face mask in the back of a vehicle near an immigration detention hotel. The...
January 14
January 14

Georgia Bulldogs defensive stars Nakobe Dean, Travon Walker, Lewis Cine declare for NFL draft

Georgia will be without three of its defensive stars, including its top two tacklers, when it tries to defend its national championship in 2022. Junior linebacker  Nakobe Dean, junior defensive lineman  Travon Walker and junior safety  Lewis Cine all declared for the NFL draft on Friday. Additionally, junior running back  Zamir White, senior offensive lineman  Jamaree Salyer and junior receiver  George Pickens also announced their intentions to enter the draft. Senior running back  James Cook announced earlier this week that he is leaving with one season of eligibility remaining. Dean is the No. 8 overall player and top linebacker in the 2022 draft, according to ESPN's Todd McShay. He was second on the Bulldogs in tackles (72) and sacks (six) last season and also had two interceptions. Walker is the No. 14 overall player in the draft, according to McShay. He tied Dean for second on the team with six sacks and also recorded...
January 14
January 14

Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean, safety Lewis Cine, top two rushers declare for NFL draft

Georgia will be without its top two rushing leaders and top two tacklers when it tries to defend its national championship in 2022. Junior linebacker  Nakobe Dean, junior safety  Lewis Cine and junior running back  Zamir White all declared for the NFL draft on Friday. Senior running back  James Cook announced earlier this week that he is leaving with one season of eligibility remaining. Junior receiver  George Pickens, who missed most of the 2021 season with a torn ACL, also announced on Friday that he is entering the NFL draft. Dean is the No. 8 overall player and top linebacker in the 2022 draft, according to ESPN's Todd McShay. He was second on the Bulldogs in tackles (72) and sacks (six) last season and also had two interceptions. Cine, who is the No. 4 safety available in the draft according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., had 73 tackles and a team-high nine pass breakups this season. He was named defensive MVP of Georgia's 33-18 College...
January 14
January 14

Iowa Hawkeyes, football coach Kirk Ferentz agree to extension through 2029 season

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz has received a contract extension through the 2029 season, it was announced Friday. Ferentz, 66, just completed his 23rd season at Iowa and is the nation's longest-tenured coach. He will earn $7 million annually during the new contract -- a $500,000 base salary, $5.5 million in supplemental compensation and a $1 million longevity bonus. Ferentz had been previously signed through 2025 and was set to earn $5.1 million next season. He's the all-time winningest coach in Iowa history with 178 wins, which ranks No. 4 in Big Ten history. This season, Iowa won its first Big Ten West Division title since 2015 and finished No. 23 in the final AP rankings. Iowa has seven 10-win seasons under Ferentz, a former Hawkeyes assistant who took over from Hayden Fry after the 1998 season. "Kirk's consistent leadership and success over 23 years has been amazing and appreciated as he has led our football program in a first-class manner," athletic director Gary Barta...
January 14
January 14

New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn to miss AFC wild-card game vs. Buffalo Bills because of injuries

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The New England Patriots will be without starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn for Saturday's AFC wild-card game against the Buffalo Bills (CBS, 8:15 p.m. ET), as the team ruled him out with ankle and hip injuries. Wynn, the blindside protector of rookie quarterback Mac Jones, had not practiced all week after leaving Sunday's regular-season finale after just nine plays. The 2018 first-round pick from Georgia has battled multiple injuries over his NFL career, but this season has been his most consistent in terms of availability. Wynn started 15 games and played 82% of the offensive snaps. He was one of 13 Patriots players listed as questionable for the game, a group that included starting safety Kyle Dugger (hand), disruptive rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore (right knee), starting defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and starting linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee), among others. In...
January 14
January 14

Georgia Bulldogs leading rushers Zamir White, James Cook and top tackler Lewis Cine declare for NFL draft

Georgia will be without its leading tackler and both of its leading rushers when it tries to defend its national championship in 2022. Junior Zamir White, the team's leading rusher this past season, announced Friday that he's entering the NFL draft. Senior James Cook announced earlier this week that he is leaving with one season of eligibility remaining. Meanwhile, Lewis Cine, who is the No. 4 safety available for the draft, according to Mel Kiper Jr., also announced on Friday he is entering the NFL draft.  White, who overcame two knee injuries and myriad health problems as a child, ran for 856 yards with 11 touchdowns this past season. White, from Laurinburg, North Carolina, ranks 15th in school history with 2,043 rushing yards and led the Bulldogs in rushing in each of the past two seasons. White ran for 84 yards with one score in Georgia's 33-18 victory against Alabama in Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T,...
January 14
January 14

New England Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn to miss AFC wild-card game vs. Buffalo Bills due to injury

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The New England Patriots will be without starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn for Saturday's AFC wild-card game against the Buffalo Bills (CBS, 8:15 p.m. ET), as the team ruled him out with ankle and hip injuries. Wynn, the blindside protector of rookie quarterback Mac Jones, had not practiced all week after leaving Sunday's regular-season finale after just nine plays. The 2018 first-round pick from Georgia has battled multiple injuries over his NFL career, but this season has been his most consistent in terms of availability. Wynn started 15 games and played 82% of the offensive snaps. He was one of 13 Patriots players listed as questionable for the game, a group that included starting safety Kyle Dugger (hand), disruptive rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore (right knee), starting defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (shoulder) and starting linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee), among others. In...
January 14
January 14

Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders to play Sunday, three weeks after hand surgery

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders will play in Sunday's wild-card playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite having had hand surgery less than three weeks ago. Sanders suffered a fracture in his right hand against the New York Giants on Dec. 26 and had surgery the next day. He missed the final two games of the regular season but is expected to play a significant role against the Bucs, coach Nick Sirianni suggested. "No limitations for Miles," he said. "He'll be our guy." Starting defensive end Josh Sweat, meanwhile, is questionable with an illness. He has been dealing with abdominal pain this week, per Sirianni, and missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, but was back at the practice facility Friday. Sweat is tied for first on the team with 7.5 sacks. Sanders did not have any protective gear on his injured right hand when entering the NovaCare practice bubble earlier this week. Asked whether he would...
January 14
January 14

Kansas City Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire out for playoff game against Pittsburgh Steelers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs will be without running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Sunday night's wild-card-round playoff game at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs' second-leading rusher this season with 517 yards, will miss his third straight game because of a shoulder injury. Edwards-Helaire practiced on Wednesday for the first time since injuring the shoulder in a Week 16 win over the Steelers. But the Chiefs shut him down on Thursday and Friday, and will list him as out on their final injury report of the week. "He tested [the shoulder] out a few days ago, and it wasn't quite as good as we thought it might be and he thought it might be,'' coach Andy Reid said. The Chiefs' top reserve running back, Darrel Williams, was limited in practice this week because of an injured toe. Williams did not play in the second half of last week's win over the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs also have ...
January 14
January 14

Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio: My decision to fire coach David Culley; no more clarity on Deshaun Watson's future

HOUSTON -- One day after firing coach David Culley following one season in Houston, Texans general manager Nick Caserio said he thinks the organization is in a better place than it was a year ago. "I would say when you rewind here and go back to a year ago ... I'd say the organization was in a pretty rough spot, and I think from where we were then to where we are now, we're in a lot better position," Caserio said Friday. "And quite frankly, I think that's because of the leadership and the guidance and the direction that David Culley brought in this football team." Caserio said in a statement Thursday that he decided to fire Culley because he and the coach "had philosophical differences over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward." On Friday, Caserio declined to go into specifics about those differences but said they had to do with "next steps or how we move forward, not necessarily rearview mirror about what has happened." "In the end,...
January 14
January 14

Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo targets Monday return after 6-week absence, sources say

After an absence of six weeks in the wake of right thumb surgery, Miami Heat All-Star center Bam Adebayo is targeting a return against the Toronto Raptors on Monday, sources told ESPN on Friday. Adebayo has been ramping up for a return in practice, and his return comes with the Heat surging into second place in the Eastern Conference with wins in seven of their past nine games. Adebayo, who has averaged 18.7 points and 10.2 rebounds this season, had a Dec. 5 procedure on his thumb to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Without Adebayo, the Heat have benefited from solid play at center by  Omer Yurtseven, who has averaged about 11 points and 14 rebounds in 10 games.
January 14
January 14

Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio: My decision to fire coach David Culley, no more clarity on Deshaun Watson's future

HOUSTON -- One day after firing coach David Culley following one season in Houston, Texans general manager Nick Caserio said he thinks the organization is in a better place than it was a year ago. "I would say when you rewind here and go back to a year ago ... I'd say the organization was in a pretty rough spot, and I think from where we were then to where we are now, we're in a lot better position," Caserio said Friday. "And quite frankly, I think that's because of the leadership and the guidance and the direction that David Culley brought in this football team." Caserio said in a statement Thursday that he made the decision to fire Culley because he and the coach "had philosophical differences over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward." On Friday, Caserio declined to go into specifics about those differences but said they had to do with "next steps or how we move forward, not necessarily rearview mirror about what has happened." "In...
January 14
January 14

Brad Ausmus joins Oakland A's as bench coach for first-time manager Mark Kotsay

Brad Ausmus, former manager of the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels, has been hired as bench coach for the Oakland Athletics, providing some much-needed experience to the coaching staff of rookie manager Mark Kotsay. The A's finalized Kotsay's coaching staff on Friday, also announcing the promotion of Tommy Everidge to major league hitting coach and the hiring of Chris Cron as an assistant hitting coach. Ausmus, 52, managed the Tigers from 2014 to 2017, winning the American League Central Division at the beginning of that four-year stretch and finishing with a 314-332 regular-season record. The longtime major league catcher then went 72-90 in his only season as the Angels' manager in 2019, a year tarnished by the sudden death of young pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Everidge, 38, has spent the last eight years as a hitting coach in the A's farm system and was originally drafted by the team in 2004. Cron, the father of Colorado Rockies first baseman ...
January 14

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