Klay Thompson insists it’s title time again for Warriors
SAN FRANCISCO — In due time, Klay Thompson is counting on more 37-point quarters and other scoring outbursts from himself, like the time he made 14 3-pointers in a game.
Not that the Golden State Warriors star is “a numbers guy” the way he used to be, before a pair of devastating injuries.
“I plan on doing that again, but who knows when? It’s tough to say,” Thompson said.
He has resumed five-on-five, full-court scrimmaging in a key step as he makes his comeback from surgery last November for a torn right Achilles tendon following a season sidelined after having the ACL in his left knee repaired.
“It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am to be playing basketball again,” Thompson said after practicing at full speed Tuesday. “I feel like myself. I feel great. I’m knocking shots down, I’m playing great D ... I’m playing defense. The hardest part is just simulating a game and that conditioning that goes with being a great NBA player. It’s hard, and it’s definitely a thing that takes time.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the team will have a better idea in a few weeks as to when Thompson might be ready to play again, and Stephen Curry’s Splash Brother is still hopeful that will be in the season’s first half. He realizes there will be a minutes restriction initially.
Penn State’s Franklin agrees to $75M, 10-year extension
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State football coach James Franklin agreed to a new 10-year contract Tuesday that will guarantee him at least $75 million through 2031.
Franklin and Penn State’s Board of Trustees agreed to the terms, which include a yearly base salary of $7 million, retention bonuses of $500,000 each year and a $1 million annual loan for life insurance.
Franklin is 67-32 at Penn State with seven bowl appearances in his eight seasons. The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten championship in 2016.
A Pennsylvania native who called the Penn State gig his “dream job” when he was hired away from Vanderbilt in 2014 will coach his 100th game at Penn State when the Nittany Lions visit No. 12 Michigan State on Saturday.
Franklin previously signed a six-year deal in 2019. The terms of that contract would’ve had him earn $5.75 million next season with a $250,000 raise each remaining year.
Mediation set for Blackhawks, former player in assault case
The former player who sued the Chicago Blackhawks alleging the team did nothing when he raised allegations of sexual assault against an assistant coach in 2010 has agreed to mediation in hopes of settling the case.
Kyle Beach’s attorney, Susan Loggans, confirmed the development Tuesday. She also confirmed the judge in the case had denied her motion to move the case into the discovery phase, which would have opened the way for each side to procure evidence.
Mediation is set to begin in December. Beach is seeking in excess of $50,000 from the team, though the exact amount was not specified. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported the development.
Beach accused video coach Brad Aldrich of sexually assaulting him in 2010 and said the team largely ignored the allegations. An independent review, commissioned by the team in response to two lawsuits as the case exploded in the headlines, showed the Blackhawks badly mishandled Beach’s allegations.
The fallout included top executives losing their jobs in Chicago and stretched to other teams, including Florida, where veteran coach Joel Quenneville — the coach of the Blackhawks at the time — resigned. The NHL fined Chicago $2 million.
AP source: Wilson to return as QB for Jets vs. Texans
NEW YORK — Zach Wilson is back — and just in time for the New York Jets.
The No. 2 overall pick will return as the starting quarterback Sunday against the Texans in Houston, according to a person with direct knowledge of the decision. Wilson missed the past four games with a sprained posterior collateral ligament in his right knee.
Wilson returning to action comes just as backup quarterbacks Mike White and Joe Flacco were both placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. That leaves just Wilson and Josh Johnson, who’s on the practice squad, at the quarterback position.
Johnson will likely be promoted to the active roster to serve as Wilson’s backup against the Texans.
Coach Robert Saleh said Monday the Jets would evaluate Wilson’s knee before making a decision by Wednesday morning on whether the rookie quarterback would be able to play. The knee checked out and Wilson will be back, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced the decision.
The Athletic first reported Wilson will start for the first time since being injured on Oct. 24. The Athletic also reported the Jets’ decision to start Wilson came before the situation with White and Flacco came to light.
Flacco said last week he is not vaccinated. White’s vaccination status was not immediately known.
Bears coach Matt Nagy denies report he will be fired
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Who coaches the Chicago Bears after Thursday seems to be the bigger topic now than who their starting quarterback will be this week.
Bears coach Matt Nagy said Tuesday Andy Dalton will start against the Detroit Lions for injured Justin Fields, then spent half of his press conference dealing with a report saying he has been told he will no longer coach the Bears after Thursday’s game.
“That is not accurate,” Nagy said of the report, which appeared on Patch.com.
The Bears have lost five straight and for three straight years have had losing streaks of four games or more. So Nagy’s job status going forward has been a hot debate throughout Chicago. Chants of “Fire Nagy,” were heard at times in Soldier Field during Sunday’s 16-13 loss to Baltimore — and even at the United Center during a Chicago Bulls game.
The report about the firing was by Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Konkol, a former news reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. It did not indicate a source.
New York Giants fire offensive coordinator Garrett
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after a dreadful performance in a nationally televised game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Giants (3-7) tweeted the decision Tuesday afternoon, saying the former Dallas Cowboys head coach had been relieved of his duties.
There was no immediate word who would replace Garrett for the game Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles (5-6). Former Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens is on the staff and could take over.
Garrett was hired last year shortly after Joe Judge was named head coach.
The Giants (3-7) were embarrassed on Monday night, dropping a 30-10 decision to the Bucs. Judge said the team has too many good players not to be scoring, giving an indication changes were coming.
New York has scored 189 points this season. It has struggled in the red zone and in five of its seven losses has a combined 65 points.
Lightning C Point expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks with injury
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Lightning star center Brayden Point is expected to miss four to six weeks because of an upper-body injury.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion Lightning announced the timeline before Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Point appeared to favor his left shoulder or arm after crashing hard into to the end boards after being tripped in the third period of Saturday night’s 5-3 loss to New Jersey. He hit the crossbar on the ensuing penalty shot and was able to finish the game.
Point, who had an NHL-best 14 goals in last season’s playoffs, sat out Sunday’s game against Minnesota.
Tampa Bay star right wing Nikita Kucherov sat out his 15th game Tuesday with a lower-body injury and has not resumed skating. He is projected to miss another four to six weeks.
Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak missed his sixth game due to an upper-body injury but took part in Tuesday’s morning skate and is day to day.
Titans waive 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson after 3 games
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have waived 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson after three games in a flurry of roster moves Tuesday.
The Titans signed running back Dontrell Hilliard from the practice squad to replace Peterson. They also signed defensive back Buster Skrine and brought back outside linebacker john Simon.
They also placed defensive back Chris Jackson (foot) and wide receiver Marcus Johnson on injured reserve. Johnson hurt his right hamstring in the first quarter in last week’s loss to the Texans, a week after he caught five passes for a season-high 100 yards receiving.
Along with an injury to 2020 Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown, that has left the Titans (8-3) thin at wide receiver before visiting New England (7-4) on Sunday. That’s why the Titans signed receivers Golden Tate and Austin Mack to the practice squad along with defensive lineman Kevin Strong and running back Rodney Smith.
Fullback Khari Blasingame also was cleared to return to practice, though he remains on injured reserve.
Peterson signed originally to the Titans practice squad Nov. 2 to help replace Derrick Henry and was promoted to the active roster two daysbefore a win in Los Angeles over the Rams. Peterson started two games and had 27 carries for 82 yards and a 3.0-yard average per rushing attempt and one touchdown run.
NFL moves Raiders-Browns, Patriots-Colts to Saturday Dec. 18
NEW YORK — The NFL has filled the blanks for its previously scheduled Week 15 Saturday doubleheader by moving the Raiders at Browns and Patriots at Colts from Sunday.
Las Vegas will be at Cleveland at 4:30 p.m. EST on Dec. 18, followed by New England at Indianapolis at 8:20 p.m. Both games will be televised by NFL Network.
The three other games that potentially could have been moved will remain on Sunday, Dec. 19. They are the Jets at Miami, Washington at Philadelphia, and Carolina at Buffalo.
NFL schedule makers frequently place games on Saturdays in mid-to-late December when college football’s regular season has concluded. On Christmas Day, also a Saturday, the league will have Cleveland at Green Bay, followed by Indianapolis at Arizona.
Vikings place DT Dalvin Tomlinson on COVID-19 reserve list
EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings placed defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson on the COVID-19 reserve list on Tuesday, further testing their depth on the defensive line.
Tomlinson has started all 10 games in his first season with the Vikings (5-5), after leaving the New York Giants to sign with them as a free agent. The other starting defensive tackle Michael Pierce will miss at least one more game with an elbow injury he’s been fighting for almost two months. Defensive end Danielle Hunter is out for the rest of the year with a torn pectoral muscle.
Sheldon Richardson has been backing up Tomlinson this season. He took some turns at defensive end last week against Green Bay with favorable pass-rushing results, but the Vikings might not have the luxury of moving him around this week at San Francisco.
WNBA suspends Williams, Bradford for May altercation roles
NEW YORK — The WNBA suspended former Atlanta Dream players Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford for their roles in an altercation outside of an Atlanta-area club in May and for related health and safety protocol violations.
Williams received a two-game suspension and Bradford one. Both players are free agents, so the suspensions will be served starting with the first regular season game that each player is eligible to play following their signing with a new team.
Williams averaged a career-best 16.5 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. Bradford averaged 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds, although her season ended in August because of a foot injury.
The Dream have said they won’t re-sign the two players. Footage of the fight, which circulated on social media last month, showed the two players throwing punches in a confrontation with a number of women near a food truck.
Man United, Chelsea advance in CL; Barcelona made to wait
Energized by a change of manager and another opportunistic finish by Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League with a game to spare on Tuesday.
Another newly appointed coach sill has work to do, though, to get Barcelona into the last 16.
United was led for the first time by Michael Carrick following the weekend firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and, just like his predecessor, the interim manager was left to be thankful for a goal by the Champions League’s record scorer.
Ronaldo produced a sublime lobbed finish to put United ahead against Villarreal and a 90th-minute strike by Jadon Sancho — his first goal since joining for $100 million in the offseason — sealed a 2-0 win to secure progress as the winner of Group F. Ronaldo has scored in all five group games so far, and now has a record-extending 140 Champions League goals in his career.
Another English team, defending champion Chelsea, also advanced on the back of a 4-0 win over already-qualified Juventus, which slumped to its heaviest ever loss in the Champions League. With Liverpool also qualified and Manchester City likely to join them, the Premier League will again be well represented in the knockout stage.
Barcelona, now coached by former star midfielder Xavi Hernandez, has advanced from its group every season for almost two decades but a 0-0 draw at home to Benfica means the Spanish club might need to beat Bayern Munich in the final round of games to advance.
All four teams in Group G are separated by three points and could still qualify heading into their last games after wins for Lille and Sevilla over Salzburg and Wolfsburg, respectively.
World Cup host Qatar used ex-CIA officer to spy on FIFA
WASHINGTON — A former CIA officer has spied on top soccer officials for years while working for Qatar, the tiny Arab country hosting next year’s World Cup tournament, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.
Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting rights from rivals like the United States and Australia by hiring former CIA officer turned private contractor Kevin Chalker to spy on other bid teams and key soccer officials who picked the winner in 2010, the AP’s investigation found.
Chalker also worked for Qatar in the years that followed to keep tabs on Qatar’s critics in the soccer world, according to interviews with Chalker’s former associates as well as contracts, invoices, emails, and a review of business documents.
It’s part of a trend of former U.S. intelligence officers going to work for foreign governments with questionable human rights records that is worrying officials in Washington.
“There’s so much Gulf money flowing through Washington D.C.,” said Congressman Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey. “The amount of temptation there is immense, and it invariably entangles Americans in stuff we should not be entangled.”
The World Cup is the planet’s most popular sports tournament. It’s also a chance for Qatar, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, to have a coming-out party on the world stage.
Skeleton slider Daly tests positive, may affect Olympic plan
Olympic skeleton slider John Daly has tested positive for COVID-19, potentially complicating his chances of making the U.S. team for the Beijing Games.
Daly isn’t sure if he will be able to compete in the next World Cup race, which is Friday in Igls, Austria. The U.S. primarily is selecting its Olympic team based on international points standings, so missing a race would deny Daly the opportunity to add to his total.
“My focus right now is to heal, regroup and come back with extreme focus,” Daly said Tuesday. “I refuse to give up and I refuse to fail.”
Daly is scheduled to be re-tested on Wednesday. There is a chance he could be cleared in time to race this weekend, but he said he’s not overly optimistic of that happening. If he can’t race this weekend, he’d likely be off the ice until the weekend of Dec. 3 in Altenberg, Germany.
US to host women’s World Cup qualifying tournament
The U.S. will host one of the four FIBA Women’s World Cup qualifying tournaments in February in Washington.
The Americans, who already have earned an automatic bid into next year’s tournament that will be held in Australia, will play against Belgium, Puerto Rico and Russia in the Feb. 10-13 qualifier.
The U.S. will open play against Puerto Rico on Feb. 10 and then play Belgium the next day. The Americans will close out the tournament against Russia on Feb. 13.
Belgrade, Serbia will host two of the other qualifying tournaments. Group A consists of Australia, Brazil, Serbia and South Korea; Group B has China, France, Mali and Nigeria. The final qualifier will be held in Osaka, Japan and will feature Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, and Japan.
Defending World Cup bronze medalist Spain finished seventh in the European qualifiers and didn’t advance to this round. It will miss the FIBA tournament for the first time since 1998. The Spaniards had medaled in the last three World Cup tournaments.
The top three finishing teams in each of the four qualifying tournaments will advance to the World Cup, which will be held from Sept. 22-Oct. 1 in Sydney. Should the U.S. or Australia, which earned an automatic qualifier by hosting, not finish in the top three teams in their pools, only the top two countries from those groups would advance.
Iran appeals ban from judo for avoiding Israeli opponents
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The Iran judo federation’s appeal against a four-year ban from international events for refusing to let its athletes face opponents from Israel was heard on Tuesday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said the Iranian appeal against an International Judo Federation ruling was held by video link. A verdict is expected to take at least several weeks.
The IJF acted against Iran after former world champion Saeid Mollaei left the team claiming he was ordered to lose matches at the 2019 world championships to avoid facing Israelis.
Mollaei fled to Germany citing fears for his safety in Iran and later got International Olympic Committee approval to compete for Mongolia. He won a silver medal in the 81-kilogram class at the Tokyo Olympics in July.
The IJF at first imposed an indefinite ban on the Iranian federation until its policy of discrimination was changed. That was overruled at the CAS and the case was sent back to the governing body which settled on a four-year suspension in April.