Update on the latest sports

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NFL

NFL takes more steps to limit access

UNDATED (AP) — The NFL is further limiting player access to team facilities as it attempts to enhance safety measures during the pandemic.

In a memo sent to the 32 clubs and obtained by The Associated Press, teams are told that they must close their facilities for two days after games, with some exceptions.

Beginning Monday, all teams playing on a Sunday must close those facilities the next two days. Only players needing medical attention for injuries or in rehab programs may enter the team complex. Coaches can access the facility, but must work in their own offices and can’t conduct meetings except virtually.

The league had its second major outbreak in the last two weeks, with the Baltimore Ravens having at least two dozen people testing positive.

In other virus related NFL news:

— Browns star Myles Garrett said he had a rough two weeks after contracting COVID-19. Garrett spoke for the first time since he tested positive last month and missed Cleveland’s past two games. The defensive end said he lost his sense of smell and taste for two weeks and endured other severe symptoms. Garrett had concerns about long-term health issues, but he’s had his heart checked and assured he’s fine. Garrett has no idea how he contracted the virus. He’ll make his return Sunday when the Browns visit the Tennessee Titans.

— Denver Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris is back after missing four games when the coronavirus swept through his household. Harris says he didn’t get as sick as his pregnant wife did and handled much of the domestic duties while his wife and kids recovered. Harris says he experienced some chills and cold sweats but was bothered more by the aftereffects of COVID-19 that include nerve pain and a general feeling of unease. Coach Vic Fangio says barring a setback, Harris will play Sunday night at Kansas City. But he’ll be watched closely as his stamina still lags.

NFL-GIANTS-JONES

Jones sees limited practice, is doubtful

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones practiced on a limited basis Friday and has been listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks in Seattle.

Jones was injured last weekend against Cincinnati and did not practice on either Wednesday or Thursday.

If Jones cannot play Colt McCoy will start for the Giants. They are riding a three-game winning streak that has put them in first place in the NFC East. The Seahawks, at 8-and-3, lead the NFC West. Judge said a decision on Jones’ status will be made after the flight to Seattle on Saturday.

Elsewhere in the NFL:

— Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is questionable for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati because of a thumb injury that forced him to miss last week’s victory over the New York Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Tagovailoa last week and threw two touchdown passes. Running back Matt Breida was placed on the reserve-COVID 19 list Friday, causing further uncertainty at a position hard hit by injuries. Running backs Salvon Ahmed and DeAndre Washington are doubtful, and running back/receiver Malcolm Perry is questionable.

— Tennessee wide receiver Adam Humphries has been cleared from concussion protocol after missing four games and should be available Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Humphries practiced fully all week and was not listed as questionable for the Titans. Tennessee will be without tight end Jonnu Smith, rookie offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson and cornerback Adoree Jackson, who has yet to play this season. Left guard Rodger Saffold and defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons both are questionable against the Browns. Tight end MyCole Pruitt should be back after missing three games with an injured knee.

— Quarterback Robert Griffin III has been placed on injured reserve by the Baltimore Ravens, leaving Trace McSorley as the backup when Lamar Jackson comes off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Griffin started Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Steelers and hurt his hamstring in the second quarter. He remained in the game until the injury became too much to bear and was replaced by McSorley in the fourth quarter of a 19-14 loss. Griffin must miss at least three games.

— The Las Vegas Raiders will be without leading rusher Josh Jacobs and safety Johnathan Abram for this week’s game against the winless New York Jets. Coach Jon Gruden says the two won’t make the trip to New York because of Jacobs’ injured ankle and Abram’s injured knee. Gruden had hoped both would be able to play this week but it wasn’t possible and now he hopes the injuries don’t linger even longer. Devontae Booker will stat at running back in Jacobs’ place.

— New York Jets left guard Alex Lewis is being benched for the second straight game as a result of what coach Adam Gase called an organizational decision. Lewis was limited at practice last Friday for what the team said was not injury related. He didn’t play last Sunday against Miami and Gase announced Friday that Lewis wouldn’t play when the winless Jets take on Las Vegas this Sunday after not practicing all week.

— The Cleveland Browns got two more players back from the COVID-19 list, activating starting linebacker Sione Takitaki and defensive end Joe Jackson on Friday. Earlier this week, the team activated star defensive end Myles Garrett, who missed the past two games after getting sick. Garrett has practiced this week and will make his return on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE FOOTBALL-VANDERBILT-GEORGIA

Vanderbilt-Georgia game postponed

UNDATED (AP) — Vanderbilt’s football game at No. 11 Georgia scheduled for Saturday has been postponed because the Commodores’ roster has fallen below minimum requirements.

Georgia announced the postponement was due to the Southeastern Conference’s COVID-19 protocols. The game has been rescheduled for Dec. 19. The game would not be played if Georgia qualifies for the SEC championship game, also scheduled for Dec. 19. The Bulldogs are a long shot to make it.

Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller had been expected to be in uniform for the game at Georgia, a week after she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE FOOTBALL-BUFFALO

Buffalo wins MAC East title after game is canceled

UNDATED (AP) — The undefeated Buffalo Bulls are awaiting word from the Mid-American Conference as to whether they have, in fact, clinched the East Division title after their game at Ohio was canceled and declared a no contest.

Buffalo athletic director Mark Alnutt says he likely won’t get an official ruling from the conference until early next week. That’s a switch after school officials indicated earlier in the day the Bulls had clinched the division title and a berth in the conference championship in two weeks.

The game at Ohio on Saturday was canceled because the Bobcats’ roster was depleted as a result of players testing positive for COVID-19. Buffalo is 4-0. At 2-1, Ohio was the only division rival in position to mathematically still win the East.

NHL SCHEDULE

NHL and players looking at mid-January start

UNDATED (AP) — A person familiar with the discussions tells The Associated Press that the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are focusing their discussions on a mid-January start date for the season.

Jan. 1 had been the stated target, but there are a number of issues that need to be resolved before players can travel to begin practice.

The two sides still need to agree on a schedule. The current working plan featuring between 52 and 56 regular season games.

NBA-SCHEDULE

NBA schedule will include longer stays for visiting teams

UNDATED (AP) — Some NBA teams are going to have longer-than-usual trips to certain cities this season.

The league released the schedule for the first half of the truncated 72-game season on Friday. The schedule includes something that hardly ever would have been the case in recent years — teams taking a trip someplace and playing two games there before moving on to another city or heading back home.

It’s by design, with the NBA doing so to limit the amount of actual travel this season. The league is looking for any edge in the quest to to keep players, coaches and others healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB-RANGERS-GATTO

Gatto has one-year deal with Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Right-hander Joe Gatto agreed to a one-year contract with the Texas Rangers, who brought back outfielder Scott Heineman with a one-year deal just one day after allowing him to become a free agent.

Gatto would earn the $570,500 major league minimum if he is in the big leagues. Heineman would earn $595,000.

The 25-year-old Gatto made two appearances during spring training this year and did not pitch after the coronavirus shutdown. He has never appeared in the major leagues. Heineman, who turns 28 on Friday, hit .154 with one homer and seven RBIs for the Rangers this year.

Meanwhile, the Rangers are giving Major League Baseball executive Chris Young a role with his hometown team by hiring the former pitcher as executive vice president and general manager. Young will work under president of baseball operations Jon Daniels, who is giving up the GM title after 15 years. The 41-year-old Young pitched 13 seasons in the majors, the first two with the Rangers after growing up in Dallas. Young had been with MLB since May 2018. He was in charge of on-field operations and umpires.

In other baseball news:

— The Cincinnati Reds declined to offer contracts to four players for the 2021 season, including reliever Archie Bradley, catcher Curt Casali and outfielder Brian Goodwin. The team also announced that it had agreed to a one-year major league deal with infielder Kyle Farmer, who gets $640,000 while in the major leagues and $175,000 while in the minors. Bradley and Goodwin were both acquired in midseason deals as the Reds made a push for the playoffs. Casali spent the past three seasons in Cincinnati and hit .224 with six homers in 76 at-bats in 2020.

MLB-WHITE SOX-KASPER

Kasper leaves Cubs for White Sox

CHICAGO (AP) — Len Kasper, the Chicago Cubs’ longtime TV play-by-play announcer, is joining the radio booth of the crosstown White Sox.

Kasper, who spent 16 seasons on the North Side, will call games alongside former major leaguer Darrin Jackson. He replaces Andy Masur, who took over after longtime announcer Ed Farmer died in April. Kasper also will work 20 to 25 games as a member of the TV broadcast team.

A Michigan native, Kasper cited the childhood influence of the late Ernie Harwell in making the move, as well as a desire to call a World Series.

MLB-YANKEES-STATEN ISLAND

Former Yankees affiliate shuts down, sues Major League club

NEW YORK (AP) — Owners of a minor league baseball team once affiliated with the New York Yankees says it has played its last inning.

Owners of the Staten Island Yankees have also filed a lawsuit accusing the pro Yankees of making making false promises the team would never abandon the farm club.

The Staten Island team had played in a waterfront stadium with views of the Manhattan skyline that opened in 2001. The owners announced Thursday that with “great regret, we must cease operations.” They also said they were suing the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball.

Messages were left Friday seeking comment from the Yankees and league officials.

Categories: National Sports