Thursday Sports in Brief

Sports
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NBA

NEW YORK (AP)Former NBA Commissioner David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage Thursday and had emergency surgery.

The league made the announcement about Stern’s condition in a statement, saying its thoughts and prayers were with the 77-year-old Stern’s family.

Stern served exactly 30 years as the NBA’s longest-tenured commissioner before Adam Silver replaced him on Feb. 1, 2014. Stern has remained affiliated with the league with the title of commissioner emeritus and has remained active in his other interests, such as sports technology.

Stern oversaw the growth of the NBA into a league whose games were televised in more than 200 countries and territories and in more than 40 languages. The league was staging a regular-season game in Mexico City between Dallas and Detroit on Thursday night when it revealed the news about Stern.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Zion Williamson was supposed to be making his highly anticipated NBA debut by sometime next week, if not earlier.

That looks unlikely now, given the overall No. 1 draft pick has yet to practice with the New Orleans Pelicans since having surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee on Oct. 21.

The reeling Pelicans could certainly use him. They’ve lost 10 straight heading into Friday night’s game at Philadelphia to fall to 6-19, but coach Alvin Gentry said this week that he could not forecast a return date.

”I don’t have any idea,” Gentry said. ”We’re not going to rush anything with him. We’re going to be overly cautious.”

Williamson’s initial prognosis was for his rehabilitation to last six to eight weeks. This Monday will mark eight weeks since surgery.

MIAMI (AP) – Dion Waiters has been suspended yet again without pay by the Miami Heat, his third banishment of the season.

The team made the announcement Thursday night, citing ”his failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination” as the reasons. The move came only a few hours after Waiters had been ruled out of Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers because of illness.

Waiters has been sick for several days, but clearly, the already-strained relationship is ailing again. He will not be allowed back until after Miami’s game against Utah on Dec. 23.

He has already lost about $920,000 in salary from two previous suspensions – a one-gamer to start the year after he complained about his role in the preseason, then a 10-gamer after an incident on the team plane where a person with knowledge of the matter said he ingested at least one cannabis-infused edible and had a reaction that required medical attention.

The latest suspension amounts to six games, or another $500,000 off his $12.1 million salary – raising his total in lost pay this season to more than $1.4 million. That doesn’t include a $1.1 million bonus that he could have earned by appearing in 70 games.

NFL

BALTIMORE (AP) – Lamar Jackson threw five touchdown passes, scurried into the NFL record book and guided the Baltimore Ravens to their second straight AFC North title and 10th consecutive victory, 42-21 over the New York Jets on Thursday night.

Baltimore (12-2) took control with touchdowns on its first three possessions and Jackson made it 28-7 in the third quarter with a 24-yard scoring pass to rookie Marquise Brown following a turnover by New York (5-9).

That was enough to assure the Ravens another division title after they clinched a playoff berth four days earlier in Buffalo. With a victory next week in Cleveland, the Ravens will be assured the top seed in the AFC, a distinction that comes with home-field advantage leading up to the Super Bowl.

Jackson ran for 86 yards (on eight carries) to break Michael Vick’s single-season record for a quarterback. Jackson has 1,108 yards rushing. Vick had 1,039 for Atlanta in 2006.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Ten former NFL players have been charged with defrauding the league’s health care benefit program, the Justice Department said Thursday.

They include five former players on the Washington Redskins, including Clinton Portis and Carlos Rogers.

Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established as part of a collective bargaining agreement in 2006. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents.

The Justice Department alleges the players submitted nearly $4 million in false claims to the plan, resulting in over $3.4 million being paid out between June 2017 and December 2018.

Four of the suspects, Robert McCune, Rogers, John Eubanks and Ceandris Brown, were arrested Thursday morning by the FBI. Six others had agreed to surrender to authorities, the Justice Department said. They are: James Butler, Fredrick Bennett, Etric Pruitt, Tamarick Vanover, Portis and Cornell Buckhalter.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is The Associated Press college football player of the year in a landslide vote.

Burrow, who has led the top-ranked Tigers to an unbeaten season and their first College Football Playoff appearance, received 50 of 53 first-place votes from AP Top 25 poll voters and a total of 156 points.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young was second with three first-place votes and 29 points while Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields was third with 43 points. Burrow, Young, Fields and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, who finished fourth with 33 points, are the finalists for the Heisman Trophy to be handed out Saturday in New York.

Burrow is the favorite for the award after passing for 4,715 yards and an Southeastern Conference record 48 touchdowns. The senior transfer from Ohio State is on pace to set a major college record, completing 77.9% of his passes.

GOLF

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – The International team is going so well at this Presidents Cup that it had to settle for a three-point lead after two sessions at Royal Melbourne.

Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay were among those who made sure it was only that.

Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott rallied from 2 down by winning five of the next seven holes and closed out Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the opening foursomes match Friday. Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer bulled their way to victory over Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson.

At one point, the International team had a chance to sweep the session.

Instead, the Americans take a little momentum into a double session of matches Saturday, winning two matches on the 18th hole and halving another.

The International team led 6 1/2-3 1/2, its largest lead since it won at Royal Melbourne in 1998, its only victory.

HOCKEY

WASHINGTON (AP) – Doctors told Tim Thomas that two-thirds of his brain were getting less than 5% blood flow and the other third was averaging about 50%.

His wife, Melissa, and oldest daughter, Kiley, started crying. Thomas didn’t react – because he couldn’t process what he was hearing.

Now years removed from the goaltending career and the concussions that caused so many problems, Thomas on Thursday detailed the brain damage that derailed his life. He wrestled with the positive memories of winning the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011 as playoff MVP, his love of the game and the effects that playing in the NHL had on his brain.

Before being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Thomas got choked up discussing the past several trying years and his long road to being able to talk about his problems. He is better now but still isn’t close to normal.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was inducted into the hall along with Thomas. They were joined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019 by former NHL forward Brian Gionta, Olympian Krissy Wendell and Washington inner city hockey pioneer Neal Henderson.

BASEBALL

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Major League Baseball will start testing for opioids and cocaine, but only players who do not cooperate with their treatment plans will be subject to discipline.

Marijuana will be removed from the list of drugs of abuse and will be treated the same as alcohol as part of changes announced Thursday to the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ association. In addition, suspensions for marijuana use will be dropped from the minor league drug program.

Opioids are classified as a drug of abuse under the joint big league program, which began in late 2002 and until now has limited testing to performance-enhancing substances and banned stimulants.

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Bruce Bochy isn’t quite done managing after all.

Bochy might have just retired after a decorated 25-year career in the dugout with San Diego and San Francisco. But he is already embracing a new challenge: Trying to guide his native France to the next World Baseball Classic in 2021.

The French national team will try to qualify next year for its first WBC. Bochy was born in Landes de Bussac, France, where his father, Gus, was stationed in the U.S. Army. Bochy will have son, Brett – a former Giants minor leaguer – pitching for him and his brother, Joe, on the coaching staff. Bochy was chosen by Didier Seminet, president of the French Federation of Baseball.

The 64-year-old Bochy guided the Giants to World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14.

Bochy finished his career with a 2003-2029 record spanning 4,032 games as a manager over 25 seasons, the first 12 with San Diego before 13 in San Francisco. He went 1,052-1,054 with the Giants, who wound up 77-85 in his final year.

SOCCER

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Australia and New Zealand have joined forces in a bid to host the Women’s World Cup in 2023.

Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football announced the co-confederation bid on Friday in Melbourne, hours before the official bid book was to be submitted to soccer’s world governing body FIFA in Zurich.

FIFA has plenty of contenders to host the first 32-team Women’s World Cup ahead of the deadline for bid books on Friday.

Other bids are expected from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Japan and South Korea, which could be a joint project with North Korea.

CHICAGO (AP) – Christian Pulisic was voted the U.S. Soccer Federation male player of the year, at 21 becoming the youngest to earn the honor for the second time.

Pulisic also won the award in 2017. Landon Donovan was 22 when he won the second of his four awards in 2004.

Pulisic had five goals and three assists for the U.S. this year. The midfielder and occasional forward received 38% of votes in totals announced Thursday, followed by forward Jordan Morris (35%) and Weston McKennie (13%).

He also plays for Chelsea in the Premier League, a transfer secured this year.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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