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Blackhawks' Kane has surgery for broken left clavicle

CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks star Patrick Kane had surgery Wednesday to repair a broken left collarbone, likely sidelining the dynamic forward for the rest of the season unless Chicago makes another deep run in the playoffs. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry and Dr. Bradley Merk performed the surgery, and Terry said a full recovery will take "approximately 12 weeks." Kane, who leads Chicago with 27 goals and 37 assists, lost his balance and crashed into the boards after he was cross-checked by Florida defenseman Alex Petrovic with 12:11 left in the first period of Tuesday night's 3-2 shootout victory over the Panthers. He stayed down on the ice for a short time and was hunched over as he skated to the bench and went straight to the locker room. The three-month timeline means Kane would be out until the Western Conference finals. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and lost to eventual champion Los Angeles in the conference finals a year ago, but it will be quite difficult to make a similar run without Kane, who was working on one of his best seasons. "You miss a valuable guy, a buddy," coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday night. "He's having one of those years that are very noticeable. But the guys still got to stick with it. Playing the right way will be emphasized as we go along." The 26-year-old Kane led Chicago with 20 points in last year's postseason. He had the winning goal against Philadelphia when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP when they won the title again two years ago. "I don't think you replace the things that he does with the puck, the attention he gets," teammate Patrick Sharp said. "But one of the strengths of our organization is depth. When a player goes down, you try to collectively try to fill in for him. But you know, as well, as you can't replace Kaner." The Blackhawks began preparing for the rest of the season when they placed Kane on long-term injured reserve Wednesday and recalled forward Teuvo Teravainen from Rockford of the American Hockey League. The 20-year-old Teravainen, who has two goals and two assists in 15 games with Chicago, is regarded as one of the NHL's top prospects. The Blackhawks also assigned Trevor van Riemsdyk to their top minor league affiliate. The rookie defenseman, who had left knee surgery in November, likely will return after a conditioning stint with the IceHogs. Kane's move to long-term injured reserve also creates some room with the salary cap ahead of Monday's trade deadline. But a couple of possible targets for the Blackhawks were on the move on Wednesday, and it's unclear what direction general manager Stan Bowman will take after the massive loss. Chicago visits Florida on Thursday and Tampa Bay on Friday, and then returns to for a three-game homestand beginning Monday against Carolina. --- Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:49:00 +0000
Angels' Hamilton meeting with MLB about disciplinary issue

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton is meeting with Major League Baseball officials about a disciplinary issue. Angels spokesman Tim Mead confirmed the Los Angeles Times' initial report Wednesday that Hamilton went to New York to meet with baseball officials. The team declined to give any more specific information. Hamilton hasn't reported to spring training in Arizona after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder earlier this month. He is expected to be out until after the regular season begins. The 2010 AL MVP is entering the third season of a five-year, $125 million contract. Hamilton has been a disappointment for the Angels, batting just .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs in two seasons. Hamilton also has a well-chronicled history of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, leading to previous suspensions. MLB declined comment on Hamilton.

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 23:27:00 +0000
AP source: Manning, Broncos talking about reworking contract

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) It looks as if it's going to come down to money. A person with knowledge of the negotiations confirms the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning's representatives are discussing ways to revise his contract and give the team more flexibility in free agency. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks. Manning, who has made more money than any player in pro football history, is due to make another $19 million in both 2015 and `16, and his salary cap number for next season is $21.2 million. John Elway has traditionally been one of the more aggressive general managers in the NFL when it comes to free agency, and he has plenty of problems to fix again this offseason. Last year he lured DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders, Pro Bowlers all, and he wants to make another run at a Super Bowl title with Manning, who turns 39 next month. Redoing Manning's deal would give Elway more maneuverability as he addresses Denver's offseason needs, including retooling the offensive line that figures to have up to three new members next season. Following Denver's playoff loss to his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, last month, Manning was non-committal about playing next season, which would be his 18th in the NFL. Elway asked him the next morning not to make a rash decision. Manning flew to Denver on Feb. 12 to meet with Elway and new coach Gary Kubiak, both of whom said at the NFL scouting combine last week that they expected Manning to be their quarterback next season. Manning must also pass a physical by March 5 where doctors check to see if there's any degeneration in his surgically repaired neck, but both the five-time MVP and Elway have said they consider that a mere formality. The Broncos figure to have about $27 million to work with under the projected $148 million salary cap in 2015, but a franchise tag for star receiver Demaryius Thomas next week would eat up about half of that figure. Placing the franchise tag on Thomas would buy them some time to negotiate a long-term deal. They did that with kicker Matt Prater and blindside protector Ryan Clady. They also have to allot at least $6 million for their bevy of draft picks that's expected to include multiple compensatory selections for all the free agents they lost last year. Manning owns most of the significant QB records and is a half-season's worth of yards - 2,148 - shy of breaking Brett Favre's yardage record of 71,838. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL --- Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:15:00 +0000
Cop: Shell casings in Hernandez car, at scene from same gun

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) A shell casing found in a car rented by ex-New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and at the scene of a killing near his home were fired from the same weapon, a state police sergeant testified Wednesday. Five shell casings were found near where Odin Lloyd was shot to death June 17, 2013, in an industrial park not far from the Hernandez home in North Attleborough. An employee of a rental car business has previously testified that she found one shell casing under the driver's seat of Hernandez's rented Nissan Altima, which he returned the day of the killing. Police later found that shell casing in a trash bin at the business. Sgt. Stephen Walsh testified Wednesday that his examination determined all six .45-caliber casings were fired by the same gun. He said they were consistent with having been fired from a Glock. The murder weapon has never been found. During cross-examination, the defense went after Walsh for not looking more thoroughly for ways to match the bullets, such as by contacting the manufacturer or by checking a national database for comparing bullets.

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 20:16:00 +0000
Mavs suspend Rondo for game after exchange with Carlisle

ATLANTA (AP) The Dallas Mavericks suspended Rajon Rondo for their game Wednesday night in Atlanta for conduct detrimental to the team, a day after the point guard had a heated exchange on the court with coach Rick Carlisle and was benched. Carlisle said he must communicate better with Rondo. "The incident last night was born in large part from poor communication between him and I," Carlisle said before Dallas' 104-87 loss. "That's on both of us. We had a long talk about the situation today and we both agreed we need to communicate more frequently and we need to work on the solution of making his stint as a Dallas Maverick the most successful one possible." Rondo came out with 8:10 left in the third quarter of Dallas' 99-92 home victory over Toronto. He was bringing the ball up the court when Carlisle angrily shouted for a timeout and exchanged words with Rondo from several feet away as the player headed to the bench. The Mavericks were trailing by nine when Rondo was pulled and rallied with backups Devin Harris and J.J. Barea running the offense along with leading scorer Monta Ellis, who sometimes handles the ball. Carlisle said Rondo will return as a starter for the Mavericks' next game against Brooklyn on Saturday. "It's one game. He'll serve it tonight," Carlisle said. "We'll be off tomorrow. He'll practice Friday and he'll be back in the starting lineup on Saturday. The events of last night are now in the past and we've got to move forward. "I need to say this very clearly: He's an extremely important part of our team. Our efforts to get to the highest possible level largely hinge on ... playing well with him. He needs to play well with us and we need to play well with him. It's a two-way street." Carlisle said the suspension was "an organizational decision." The suspension left the Mavericks with only 11 players against the Hawks. Center Tyson Chandler was held out with a hip contusion and forward Amare Stoudemire was rested with the team playing on back-to-back days. Forward Chandler Parsons was held out with a left ankle injury. Acquired in a trade with Boston in December to try to improve the playoff outlook for the Mavericks in the difficult Western Conference, Rondo hasn't had an easy transition. The four-time All-Star who won a title with the Celtics in 2008 was on the bench in the final minutes of a four-point loss to Chicago about a month after the trade and said afterward he didn't have a problem with Carlisle's decision. Dallas' offense has sunk from the top of the league to fourth in points per game since he arrived. "For us to get where we want to get ... his abilities have to be utilized by us the best possible way," Carlisle said. "That's in large part my responsibility and I do not dodge that. And a lot of that starts with great communication with him. I'm always working on being a better communicator and we talked about it today. He admitted that he's got to do the same. So that's where we are and we'll go forward from here." Also brought in to improve the Mavericks' perimeter defense with a long list of strong guards in the West, Rondo had some success against Houston's James Harden and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook before breaking a bone near his left eye at Orlando and missing six games. In his first game back after the All-Star break, Rondo couldn't slow Westbrook in a blowout loss to the Thunder. He bounced back with a solid outing in a win over Harden and the Rockets. The Mavericks made the move for Rondo after offseason pickup Jameer Nelson struggled at the point. Dallas gave up Nelson, swingman Jae Crowder, forward Brandan Wright and two draft picks for Rondo and forward Dwight Powell, who has played sparingly. The win over Toronto gave the Mavericks a sweep of a three-game homestand and pulled them within half a game of Houston for third place in the tightly packed West. There are four teams separated by just a game and a half in the battle for two spots with home-court advantage in the first round. --- AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas contributed to this report.

Thu, 26 Feb 2015 04:06:00 +0000
Chicago's Rose out again with knee injury, needs surgery

CHICAGO (AP) Derrick Rose's knee has failed him again. The Chicago Bulls star will have surgery on his right knee for the second straight season, casting doubt on whether the once dynamic point guard will ever be the same after a series of injuries. The team announced Tuesday night that Rose was feeling pain in his knee, and an exam and MRI confirmed a medial meniscus tear. The 2011 NBA MVP played in only 10 games last season before he had surgery for the same injury in November 2013, shelving him for the year, but the Bulls said a timetable for his return will be determined after the operation. It's unclear when Rose re-injured the knee. He appeared to be rounding into form last month, averaging 22.6 points over his final 14 games before the All-Star break, but he had struggled since returning to the court after the time off. Rose became the latest NBA star to be sidelined for a significant period within the past few days. Chris Bosh will miss the rest of the season after the Miami Heat announced blood clots were found on one of his lungs. Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (left knee surgery) won't return this season, either. Thunder star Kevin Durant had surgery on his right foot, and Pelicans big man Anthony Davis has a sprained right shoulder. Both are expected back this season. Rose's status remains to be seen. Rose had eight points on 1-for-13 shooting while playing almost 33 minutes in Monday night's 87-71 victory over Milwaukee. He averaged 10.7 points on 23.5 percent shooting in Chicago's first three games after the break. It's a big blow for the surging Bulls (36-21), who have won six of seven and appeared to be picking up steam after a tough stretch. They lead the Central Division by a half-game over Cleveland, but any extended absence for Rose will make it quite difficult for Chicago to hold off LeBron James and the Cavaliers. "Man feel bad for D.Rose! Keep your head up homie and stay strong G!" James tweeted after the injury was announced. James was one of several NBA stars who took to social media to express their support for Rose, who has been dogged by injuries since he won the MVP award. All-Star teammate Jimmy Butler posted a picture of him and Rose with the message: "my point guard. my brother." Rose was limited to 39 games during the 2011-12 season, and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs against Philadelphia. He missed the next season altogether, and then last season was cut short by the right knee surgery. Rose, 26, is averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season. He has flashed his MVP form at times, attacking the rim, but his outside shot has been unreliable. He is shooting just 40.7 percent, the second-lowest average of his career, and is committing 3.2 turnovers per game. The Bulls have shuffled players in and out of the lineup because of various ailments and have struggled to develop continuity after making some big moves last summer. They signed All-Star Pau Gasol, giving them a big scoring presence inside, and with Rose back after missing most of the past two years, the Bulls came in looking to contend for a championship. Now they wait to see how long Rose will be out with this injury. --- Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:29:00 +0000
Council OKs Los Angeles-area stadium backed by Rams owner

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) The Inglewood City Council late Tuesday night approved plans to build a football stadium that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke as a partner, clearing a path for a return to the Los Angeles area of the NFL for the first time in two decades. The council approved the $2 billion plan with a 5-0 vote after a meeting with several hours of public comment and many vocal Rams fans wearing jerseys in attendance. With only a small handful of dissenters, most of the commenters exuberantly supported the move. They included Henry Yet, 54, of Brea, a board member of the Southern California Ram boosters. "I'm not going to sleep, I'll probably stay up all night just thinking about it," he said after the vote. "This is a monumental step." Another commenter, Eric Geller, urged the council to "plant those shovels in the dirt tomorrow morning." The vote adopts a new redevelopment plan without calling a public vote, effectively kickstarting construction and sidestepping lengthy environmental review of issues such as noise, traffic and air pollution. It adds the 80,000 seat, 60-acre stadium to an existing 2009 plan to redevelop the former Hollywood Park racetrack site with homes, offices, stores, parks and open space and a hotel. Kroenke is part of the Hollywood Park Land Co. development group that is promoting the project. But a plan is also in the works in St. Louis in hopes of keeping the team with a 64,000-seat stadium on the city's north riverfront. Yet said he believed Kroenke and the team would make the move, even if there are legal or other obstacles. "He knows he's going to be in litigation, but he has the money and the firepower to do it, and the city says yes," Yet said. New urgency for Inglewood came to the issue last week with the announcement that the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are planning a shared stadium in suburban Carson if they don't get their current hometowns to cough up enough money to replace their aging stadiums. Another stadium plan remains alive for downtown Los Angeles, but has no team attached. Stadium proponents said it is important to approve the concept as soon as possible to avoid delays in the redevelopment that already is underway. They would like construction to start by year's end to have a venue ready for the 2018 football season. A Feb. 20 consultants' report to the city manager backing the stadium notes that the developer, not the public, would pay the cost of building the stadium and says the plan would allow the city - once home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings before they moved to Los Angeles - "to continue its legacy of providing the region with world-class sports and entertainment." Christopher Meany, executive vice-president of the Hollywood Park Land Development Company said that the plan is important for the community and said at the meeting Tuesday night that the project is "really going to be the new heart of Inglewood." "Their vision is being realized here," Meany said. Meany has emphasized that the plan does not include any taxpayer dollars. Mayor James Butts Jr. said the project was "the best financial arrangement in the history of stadium deals in this country." But while the deal does not include upfront tax money, the development group expects to recoup up to $100 million in local tax dollars in the first five years of operation, which would cover costs ranging from installing street lights and fire hydrants to running shuttle buses and providing police security on game days. Supporters also said the stadium would bring the city more than 10,000 jobs and tens of millions of dollars a year in new tax revenue.

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 08:22:00 +0000
Busch crash leading to additional SAFER barriers at tracks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) International Speedway Corp. is developing a plan for the installation of additional SAFER barriers at Daytona and Talladega, and will review the safety standards at its other racetracks. The renewed focus announced Tuesday by ISC President John Saunders comes three days after NASCAR star Kyle Busch broke his right leg and left foot in a crash into a concrete wall at Daytona International Speedway. Busch left a Daytona Beach, Florida, hospital on Tuesday and was transferred to another facility in North Carolina for further treatment. Busch was injured Saturday in the season-opening Xfinity Series race when his car hit an interior wall that did not have a Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier. After his accident, Daytona president Joie Chitwood III vowed to cover every inch of the speedway with SAFER barriers. Daytona is owned by ISC, the sister company of NASCAR. Saunders said ISC is "developing a significant plan" for more impact-absorbing technologies that will not be limited to SAFER barriers for Daytona and Talladega. ISC will also immediately review Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, as both tracks host NASCAR races in March. "We will utilize all available tools to ensure the safety of the drivers and our fans. It will remain our top priority," Saunders said in a statement. "ISC is working very closely with NASCAR and industry experts to identify areas for additional safety protections." SAFER barriers were one of the many safety initiatives that came about after Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001 in an accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500. The soft walls were developed by Dr. Dean Sicking at the University of Nebraska, and although they debuted in 2002 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they are currently installed in some form at every track used by NASCAR's top series. The barriers, a combination of steel and foam, cost about $500 a foot. But, the cost has proven worth it as the walls absorb the energy during impact and have repeatedly lessened injuries sustained to a driver. Still, they have not been placed everywhere around the racetracks. Tracks only install SAFER barriers where NASCAR recommends to them they should be placed. NASCAR, meanwhile, cites evaluations of high-impact areas in deciding where the material should be placed. There have been numerous hard hits over the years in areas that were not protected with SAFER barrier, and it often has been rectified by the time the series returns. In 2013, Denny Hamlin hit an unprotected section of wall in Fontana, California, that caused a fractured vertebra. NASCAR had Auto Club Speedway install SAFER barrier where Hamlin hit before the series returned last year. Las Vegas Motor Speedway did the same following a hard Jeff Gordon hit in 2008. Reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick hit the same wall Busch did in last year's Daytona 500, and was critical of the lack of SAFER barrier immediately following his own accident. He was pleased that Daytona was reacting after Busch's injury, but felt it was a bit late. "The racetracks have to be proactive and they have to look ahead of an accident," Harvick said. "We know what fixes these walls, and that's to put a wall in front of them." Even before ISC's announcement Tuesday that it would get additional SAFER barriers in at least two of its tracks, other facilities were being proactive in the wake of Busch's injury. Atlanta Motor Speedway, host of this weekend's NASCAR races, reviewed its existing SAFER barriers on Monday and said it will enhance the existing barrier system before NASCAR arrives on Thursday. The protective wall at the exit of Atlanta's pit road near Turn 1 will be extended, and a tire barrier will be added along the inside wall of Turn 4. The installations will add a total of 130 linear feet of additional protective barrier prior to this weekend's racing. The track will consider future installation of additional SAFER barriers after Sunday's race. Kentucky Speedway will add additional soft walls to the backstrech before NASCAR arrives in July. New Hampshire Motor Speedway said it was already planning for additional SAFER barriers to be installed this year, but is now reviewing the plan to see if NASCAR will recommend even more soft walls.

Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:09:00 +0000
K-State apologizes to Kansas for court-storming incident

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Kansas State athletic director John Currie promised to review the school's security procedures after an upset of eighth-ranked Kansas on Monday night turned into a chaotic scene as students and fans rushed the court. Currie also apologized in a lengthy statement to Kansas counterpart Sheahon Zenger, Jayhawks coach Bill Self and his team Tuesday morning, and said the school would review video of the incident along with law enforcement personnel to identify fans who became unruly. "Although no one was hurt last night," Currie said, "we fell short of our expectations for securing the court and escorting KU to its locker room without incident." NCAA spokesman David Worlock said there are no national rules against court-storming, but that conferences and individual schools are expected to provide sufficient security. The Big 12 said in a statement that it was reviewing the postgame celebration, and that "in accordance with conference policy, home team game management is responsible for the implementation of protocols to provide for the safety of all game participants, officials and fans." Currie said that security formed a human barrier Tuesday night, just as they are instructed. But he said they were unable to get into position in time, even though the Wildcats led for several minutes at the conclusion of the game, and it had become apparent long before the final buzzer that a sea of humanity was ready to rush the floor. As the court was engulfed, Self was nearly crushed against the scorer's table, and Kansas State coach Bruce Weber tried to shield him. At the other end of the floor, Jayhawks assistant Kurtis Townsend could be seen yanking away a student who was taunting several players. Kansas forward Jamari Traylor was even hip-checked by a student rushing onto the court. The video quickly went viral, and Kansas State police posted a picture of the student on Twitter on Tuesday morning and asked for the public's help in identifying him. Throughout the game, students also engaged in profane chants directed at their rival. "It's a ballgame," Self said. "It's not about chicken-winging somebody when the game's over. Hopefully, they can get that corrected. It's fine if you want to celebrate when you beat us, that's your business. That's fine. But at least it shouldn't put anybody at risk." This is the second time this month that Kansas has had the court stormed after its defeat. A similar scene unfolded following a loss at Oklahoma State. "While we are proud of the incredible atmosphere of Bramlage Coliseum and the passion of K-State students and fans, we are saddened by the insistence of some fans to sully the image of our great institution with audible profane chants," Currie said. "We will continue to work with our student leadership to provide a better example of sportsmanship for our audiences."

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:21:00 +0000
David Ragan, Erik Jones to replace Kyle Busch at Atlanta

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) David Ragan will drive Kyle Busch's car in the Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Atlanta, while 18-year-old Erik Jones will drive Busch's car in the Xfinity Series. Busch broke his right leg and left foot when he crashed head-on into a concrete wall Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. He left the Florida hospital on Tuesday and was transferred to one in Charlotte for further treatment. Ragan will drive the No. 18 Toyota for at least the next several weeks. The move was accommodated by Front Row Motorsports, the team Ragan currently drives for, and sponsor CSX. Jones will drive the No. 54 Toyota in Saturday's race. Busch was driving the No. 54 in the Xfinity Series opener when he was injured. Joe Gibbs Racing said additional lineup changes to the Xfinity car will be made moving forward. Jones currently runs a full season in the Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and a partial Xfinity schedule for JGR in the No. 20.

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:36:00 +0000