Update on the latest sports

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County sheriff is characterizing the crash that seriously injured Tiger Woods as “purely an accident.”

Sheriff Alex Villanueva appeared to rule out any potential criminal charges even as authorities were still investigating. Deputies did not see any evidence that the 15-time major champion was impaired by drugs or alcohol after Tuesday’s rollover wreck on a downhill stretch of road known for crashes.

A post on Woods’ Twitter account said the crash caused “significant” injuries to his right leg, and he underwent a “long surgical procedure.”


Bucs still keen on Brady extension

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — It’s not often you hear of a team that’s prepared to offer an extension to a 40-something athlete. Then again, Tom Brady’s not an average athlete.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are open to giving the seven-time Super Bowl champion a contract extension. General manager Jason Licht reiterated Wednesday that the Super Bowl champions would like to keep the 43-year-old quarterback in uniform for as long as Brady wants to play. Licht declined to characterize any conversations the team’s had about that prospect.

Brady just led the Bucs to their second Super Bowl title.

In other NFL news:

— The Raiders have released receiver Tyrell Williams following two injury-plagued seasons with the team. Williams initially signed a four-year, $44.3 million deal as a free agent to join the Raiders in 2019. He struggled with injuries to his feet his first season and then missed all last season with a torn labrum.


Booker replacing Davis on West squad

NEW YORK (AP) — Snubbed a day earlier, Devin Booker became an All-Star for the second straight year.

The Phoenix Suns guard has been selected to replace injured Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis on the Western Conference team for the March 7 game in Atlanta. The move would seem to satisfy Lakers forward LeBron James, who tweeted on Tuesday that Booker “is the most disrespected player in our league!!! Simple as that.”

Davis is sidelined by a strained right calf.

Booker is averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds while shooting a career-high 50.1% from the field.


Bolts close gap on Cats

UNDATED (AP) — Just two points separate the top four teams in the NHL’s highly-competitive Central Division following a shutout win by Tampa Bay and a shutout loss by Florida.

Ross Colton scored in his NHL debut and Andrei Vasilevskiy (va-sih-LEHV’-skiy) stopped 25 shots in the Lightning’s 3-0 win at Carolina. Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow (GOO’-droh) also scored, and Alex Killorn (kih-LOHRN’) had two assists in the third of four straight games between the two teams.

Vasilevskiy had his 22nd career shutout and first since March 2020 against Montreal.

The Stars’ six-game winless streak is over after Anton Khudobin (koo-DOH’-bihn) stopped 43 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Panthers.

Khudobin has shut out Florida three times in nine career starts and has 10 career shutouts overall.

John Klingberg put the Stars ahead for good just 53 seconds into the game. That was all the scoring until Esa Lindell tallied 2:17 into the third and Joel Kiviranta (kih-vih-RAHN’-tah) added an empty-netter.

Florida tops the division with 26 points, one more than the Lightning and Hurricanes. The idle Blackhawks are two back.


Canadiens fire coach Claude Julien amid losing stretch

UNDATED (AP) — Coaching the Montreal Canadiens has become a very tenuous position as the club enters a franchise-record 28th consecutive year without a Stanley Cup.

The Habs were off to a good start this season, but their current struggles have led to the dismissals of head coach Claude Julien (ZHOO’-lee-ehn) and associate coach Kirk Muller. The marks the second time Julien has been fired by the Canadiens.

Assistant coach Dominique Ducharme (doh-mah-NEEK’ doo-SHAHRM’) was appointed interim coach with the team and former NHL forward Alex Burrows was added to the coaching staff. Ducharme inherits a team that has dropped three straight and six of eight since a 7-1-2 start.

In other NHL news:

— Thursday’s scheduled game between the Sharks and Golden Knights has been postponed after a San Jose player entered the NHL’s COVID protocol. It’s the 36th NHL game this season to be postponed for virus-related issues and 40th counting the Texas snowstorm that affected Dallas.

— The Hurricanes are eager to allow fans to attend games after an easing of COVID-19 statewide restrictions by Gov. Roy Cooper, beginning on Friday. The Hurricanes say they plan to start allowing fans for the March 4 home game against Detroit.


Abreu tests positive for virus

UNDATED (AP) — The pandemic has sidelined the Chicago White Sox’s top player.

American League MVP José Abreu (ah-BRAY’-oo) has tested positive for COVID-19 and will remain away from the White Sox for at least the next few days.

General manager Rick Hahn says the Cuban slugger is “completely asymptomatic.” Hahn says testing also showed the presence of COVID antibodies and Abreu believes he had a mild case of the coronavirus in January.

Abreu powered the White Sox back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The three-time All-Star hit .317 with 19 home runs and a major league-leading 60 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened season.

In other baseball news:

— The Braves have claimed outfielder Guillermo Heredia off waivers from the Mets and added him to their 40-man roster. He was designated for assignment on Sunday when the Mets finalized a deal with center fielder Kevin Pillar.

— Twins shortstop Royce Lewis has a torn ACL in his right knee that will sideline him for the upcoming season. Lewis is considered the organization’s top prospect but wasn’t expected to be in the majors this year after finishing last season at Double-A.


Hectic finish awaits all NBA teams in 2nd half of season

UNDATED (AP) — The NBA has released the list of second-half games that will be played between March 10 and May 16.

Memphis and San Antonio are set to play 40 times apiece, tied for the most in the league during the 68-day sprint to the end of the regular season. The Grizzlies and Spurs had games postponed by COVID-19 issues.

And every team is scheduled to play on the final day of the regular season, a rarity.

The season reopens following the All-Star break on March 10.

In other NBA news:

— The Rockets have released DeMarcus Cousins after just 25 games. Cousins was waived this week after signing a $2.3 million contract with Houston in the offseason. The 30-year-old Cousins was averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds this season playing in a reserve role after missing all of last year with an Achilles’ issue.

— Backup guard Quinn Cook has been waived by the Lakers shortly before his contract would have been guaranteed. Cook averaged 2.1 points while appearing in 16 games this season.

— The leadership of the National Basketball Coaches Association is voicing its “concern and level of disappointment” with the way the Minnesota Timberwolves changed head coaches. The Timberwolves fired Ryan Saunders on Sunday night and formally introduced Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch as the replacement on Monday. Timberwolves assistant David Vanterpool has support from several NBA players, many of whom expressed anger that he did not get the job or, at minimum, the appearance of being considered for it. Vanterpool is Black. Finch is white.


Bill would allow college athletes to return from draft

UNDATED (AP) — The latest federal bill related to college sports would allow athletes to earn money from endorsements, loosen restrictions around transfers and permit players to return to school after entering a professional league’s draft.

The proposed legislation introduced Wednesday by Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran also would require the wealthiest athletic programs to increase spending on long-term medical care for athletes.

The bill is the fourth to emerge from the Senate since December and second from a Republican. Most recently, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy introduced a bill narrowly focused on giving college athletes the right to earn money off their names, images and likenesses.

In other college sports news:

— A diversity study for racial and gender hiring across college sports found little change in scores that continue to lag behind the professional ranks. Wednesday’s report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida assigned an overall C-plus grade, a B for racial hiring and a C-plus for gender hiring for the 2019-20 sports season. Those were the same grades as last year.

— The West Coast Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be held without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clark County in Nevada would have allowed a limited number of fans, but the conference decided it would be safer for athletes and staff with no one else in the arena.


Original 9, Hewitt in Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021

UNDATED (AP) — Billie Jean King and the other members of the Original 9 who laid the groundwork for the women’s professional tour are the first group elected together to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of when King and eight other players took a stand against the disparity in prize money between men and women in the sport at the time. King was elected to the Hall in 1987 for her on-court accomplishments.

Two-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt was the only one of five nominees in the Player Category voted in. Dennis Van der Meer also was elected as a contributor after advocating for a universal teaching method in the sport.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 17 at the Hall in Newport, Rhode Island.