Dallas coach Jason Kidd enters NBA protocols, out vs Rockets
UNDATED (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks will be without coach Jason Kidd Friday night against the Houston Rockets. The Mavericks say Kidd has entered the health and safety protocols. Assistant coach Sean Sweeney will be acting head coach.
Dallas currently is fifth in the Western Conference and has won four straight. The Mavericks are scheduled to host Chicago on Sunday night before hitting the road for a two-game swing.
The last few weeks in the NBA have seen most teams dealing with outbreaks. Eleven games have been postponed, and now 13 head coaches, countless other staffers and about one-third of the league’s referees have been sidelined by virus issues.
Cards designate Watt to return, could help in playoffs
UNDATED (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have announced that three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt has been designated to return from the injured reserve list, leaving open the possibility that he could boost the team’s defense during the playoffs.
The Cardinals made the move on Friday and now have 21 days to elevate Watt to the 53-man roster. He can return to practice immediately.
The 32-year-old Watt was initially expected to be out for the season because of a shoulder injury on Oct. 24, but has been working out at Arizona’s practice facility to try and be ready for the playoffs.
In other NFL news:
— Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as questionable for the San Francisco 49ers in their crucial season finale against the Los Angeles Rams after missing last week’s game with an injured right thumb. Garoppolo practiced on a limited basis all week. Coach Kyle Shanahan says he knows whether he plans to start Garoppolo or Trey Lance on Sunday but is waiting until game time to make an announcement.
— Lamar Jackson will miss a fourth consecutive game for the Baltimore Ravens to end the regular season. Baltimore ruled Jackson out for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh because of his ankle injury. That likely ends the star quarterback’s 2021 season. The winner of the Ravens-Steelers game can make the playoffs, but those chances are slim.
— Green Bay Packers center Josh Myers is expected to play for the first time in over 2 1/2 months on Sunday against Detroit. The availability of fellow offensive lineman David Bakhtiari remains uncertain. Myers is still on injured reserve after hurting a knee Oct. 17 at Chicago. But Packers coach Matt LaFleur says he anticipates the rookie second-round pick from Ohio State playing in the regular-season finale at Detroit. Bakhtiari practiced Friday and is listed as questionable on the Packers’ injury report.
— Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel says the team has some time to make the decision on moving Derrick Henry from injured reserve back to the active roster. Vrabel says he likes what he’s seen of the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year in the three days Henry has practiced.
— NFL teams will play their 17th regular-season game this weekend for the first time. The league had a 16-game schedule for the past 43 years. Thirteen of the 16 games on the ledger this week will have a bearing on the playoff bracket. There are 18 teams still mathematically in championship contention. That’s the most entering the final week since 20 teams were alive in 2006.
NHL postpones Canucks, Senators games due to capacity limits
UNDATED (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks had another game pushed back when the NHL announced it was postponing Saturday’s matchup with the Ottawa Senators due to ongoing attendance restrictions.
The league also postponed a Senators-Jets game originally set for Jan. 15. Current health orders in British Columbia limit attendance at indoor sports events to 50% capacity. The NHL says the games will be rescheduled for later in the season when such restrictions may be eased or lifted.
Djokovic spending Orthodox Christmas in detention
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) spent Orthodox Christmas in an Australian detention hotel working on his challenge against deportation. The top-ranked tennis player received calls from Serbia, including from his parents and the president. Hundreds of supporters have gathered at a rally in downtown Belgrade to protest his confinement.
The evidence that Djokovic was relying on to support a medical exemption to Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination policy was rejected by Australian border authorities when he arrived at the Melbourne airport late Wednesday, and his visa was canceled. He has been confined to the detention hotel since being moved from the airport.
So, instead of preparing to defend his Australian Open title, and bid to win a men’s-record 21st major title, he’s preparing to go to the Federal Circuit Court on Monday to challenge his visa cancellation and deportation. That’s a week before the season-opening major starts.
In other tennis news:
— Top-ranked Ash Barty has advanced to the Adelaide International semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, and Rafael Nadal advanced in Melbourne via a walkover in tune-up tournaments ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam event.
GOLF-US WOMEN’S OPEN
US Women’s Open purse soars to $10 million on fabled courses
UNDATED (AP) — The biggest event in women’s golf now has the prize money to match. And the U.S. Women’s Open is also headed to major courses.
The USGA has announced a $10 million purse for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open. That’s nearly double what it was last year. The prize money will go up to $12 million over the next five years. Helping to foot the bill is a presenting sponsor in Ohio-based ProMedica.
Sue Bird says she’s returning to Storm for another seaso
SEATTLE (AP) — Sue Bird says she will return to the Seattle Storm for another season, putting off retirement for at least one more year. The four-time WNBA champion and 12-time All-Star selection has spent her entire WNBA career with the Storm after being the No. 1 pick of the 2002 WNBA draft. The 2022 season will be Bird’s 21st overall with the franchise, but she missed the 2014 and 2019 seasons due to injury.
Bowe, teen Stolz win 1,000 races at US speedskating trials
UNDATED (AP) — Brittany Bowe has won the women’s 1,000 meters in a track-record time at the U.S. speedskating trials in Milwaukee to earn her third Olympic berth. The 33-year-old skater from Ocala, Florida, finished first in 1 minute, 13.63 seconds. Kimi Goetz was second at 1:14.89. Erin Jackson finished third in 1:15.88.
Jordan Stolz won the men’s 1,000 in a track-record time of 1:07.61 to earn an Olympic berth at age 17. Joey Mantia qualified for his third Olympics by finishing second.
In other Olympics developments:
— Olympic veterans Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman have crashed out of a World Cup qualifying race. That ends their hopes of being the doubles sled that represents USA Luge at next month’s Beijing Games.
— Two-time champion and Olympic hopeful Alysa Liu has withdrawn from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday. The positive test came less than a day after she finished third in the short program to put herself in position to make the Olympic team.
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