Update on the latest sports
Kawhi Leonard out for Game 5 with knee sprain
UNDATED (AP) — All-NBA forward Kawhi (kuh-WY’) Leonard has a right knee sprain that will keep him out of the Los Angeles Clippers’ lineup for Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night.
Leonard’s status going forward is unclear. The team says he is out indefinitely. The series is tied at two games each.
Leonard appeared to be hurt in Game 4 Monday night when he was fouled on a drive by Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic (BOY’-ahn bahg-DAH’-noh-vich).
Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, is averaging 30.4 points on 57% shooting in the playoffs.
In other NBA news:
— Phoenix guard Chris Paul has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and it is unclear whether he’ll be available for the start of the Western Conference finals next week. The team says his status will be evaluated again Saturday. The earliest possible start date for the West finals is Sunday. That series schedule is contingent on when the other West semifinal between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers ends. A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Paul has been vaccinated against COVID-19. That may mean that Paul, if he has tested positive, could be cleared to return more quickly than those who tested positive earlier this season before vaccines were readily available.
— Scott Brooks won’t be back with the Washington Wizards next season. General manager Tommy Sheppard announced Wednesday that the coach’s contract will not be extended. Washington made the playoffs in three of Brooks’ five seasons but they haven’t won a playoff round since his first Wizards season in 2016-17. This year the Wizards were eliminated in five games in the first round by Eastern Conference top-seeded Philadelphia. Washington was 183-207 overall with Brooks as coach and ranked last or second-last in team defense each of the past three years.
— New Orleans Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin says Stan Van Gundy is out as coach following just one season at the helm. Van Gundy was hired last October about two months before the start of a pandemic-delayed and shortened season. He coached a Pelicans squad led by All-Star Zion Williamson to a 31-41 record and New Orleans missed the playoffs.
— Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson is leaving the organization after 24 seasons. The Mavericks say they mutually agreed to part ways with Nelson, who was instrumental in the club’s acquisitions of Dirk Nowitzki (noh-VIHT’-skee) and Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chihch). The son of former coach Don Nelson joined Dallas with his dad in 1998. The Mavericks haven’t won a playoff series since then.
— Portland guard Damian Lillard has told USA Basketball officials that he will play for the national team in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, said a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the roster has not yet been publicly revealed. USA Basketball plans on selecting its team in the coming weeks, then bringing the group to Las Vegas for a training camp that begins July 6. Lillard has not previously played in the Olympics.
Molina’s RBI single in 9th lifts Cardinals past Marlins 1-0
UNDATED (AP) — Yadier Molina (YAH’-dee-ehr moh-LEE’-nah) grounded an RBI single down the third base line in the ninth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals edged the Miami Marlins 1-0 to sweep the season series.
Molina’s eighth career regular season walk-off hit came with one out and sent Miami to its fourth straight loss. Paul Goldschmidt reached on an error by shortstop Jazz Chisholm Jr. to start the ninth. After Matt Carpenter walked with one out, Molina singled off Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara.
The Cardinals went 6-0 against Miami this year for their first season sweep over the Marlins.
Rays’ Hill says union ‘dropped the ball’ on grip enhancers
CHICAGO (AP) — Veteran Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Rich Hill says the players’ union “dropped the ball” when it came to this week’s announcement from Major League Baseball about grip-enhancing substances.
MLB says pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games starting Monday for using illegal substances to doctor baseballs. The commissioner’s office, responding to record strikeouts and a league batting average at a more than half-century low, said Tuesday that major and minor league umpires will start regular checks of all pitchers, even if opposing managers don’t request inspections.
The 41-year old Hill says it’s disheartening that the action was taken without the OK of the players or the union.
The midseason changes come during the final season of the current collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players.
NFL loosening many COVID restrictions for vaccinated players
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL and NFL Players Association have updated COVID-19 protocols to loosen restrictions for fully vaccinated players and to encourage others to get the vaccine.
Unvaccinated players must continue to get daily testing, wear masks and practice physical distancing. They won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates, can’t participate in media or marketing activities while traveling, aren’t permitted to use the sauna or steam room and may not leave the team hotel or interact with people outside the team while traveling.
Vaccinated players will not have any of those restrictions, according to a memo sent to teams on Wednesday that was obtained by The Associated Press.
Media access to the press box, field and sidelines, locker room and postgame interview room will be available only to media members who are fully vaccinated.
Venus, Murray get Wimbledon wild cards; prize money reduced
UNDATED (AP) — Former Wimbledon champions Venus Williams and Andy Murray will receive wild cards to compete in the grass-court Grand Slam tournament when it starts in less than two weeks.
The All England Club also announced Wednesday that the men’s and women’s singles winners will each get $2.4 million, a nearly 28% decrease from 2019, although the overall reduction in prize money is 5.2%.
Organizers highlighted plans to have a full crowd of 15,000 at Centre Court for the men’s and women’s finals next month, a year after the tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament begins June 28.
Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz was also given a wild card.
In other tennis news:
— Roger Federer has failed to reach the Halle Open quarterfinals for the first time. Félix Auger-Aliassime rallied from a set down to stun the former champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round. The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime is 19 years younger than the Swiss great. Both share the same birthday – Aug. 8. Federer had been going for his 18th quarterfinal in as many appearances at the grass-court tournament. He has won the Halle tournament a record 10 times. Auger-Aliassime next faces German Jan-Lennard Struff or American qualifier Marcos Giron.
Kentucky judge divides Medina Spirit urine sample for tests
UNDATED (AP) — A Kentucky judge has granted representatives of trainer Bob Baffert and the owners of Kentucky Derby winner Medina (meh-DEE’-nah) Spirit most of a split sample of the horse’s urine to be further tested for the steroid betamethasone and other substances.
The Hall of Fame trainer and Zedan Racing Stables last week sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for remnants of Medina Spirit’s urine to prove that traces of the steroid betamethasone in his system came from a topical ointment rather than an injection. Representatives for Baffert and Zedan can have 20 milliliters of the sample, while the KHRC gets 5 ml and any unused portion.
In other racing news:
— The Breeders’ Cup will have full capacity for the world championships at Del Mar in early November. Officials say tickets go on sale Friday, although general admission won’t be available at this time. They hope to be able to offer it closer to the event. All tickets will be sold in advance and none will be available on-site. Del Mar, located north of San Diego, is hosting for a second time. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup was held without fans at Keeneland in Kentucky.