Update on the latest sports

AP

NFL-NEWS

Derrick Henry cleared to practice…Burrow to sit out Sunday

UNDATED (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have moved a step closer to having the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year back. The team opened the 21-day window Wednesday for Derrick Henry to start practicing.

The Titans announced Wednesday morning before practice that Henry had been activated. The next decision will be when — and if — to put Henry on the active roster.

Henry, who turned 28 on Tuesday, broke his right foot Oct. 31 and had surgery Nov. 2 to repair his fifth metatarsal. Henry was the NFL’s leading rusher with 937 yards when he was put on injured reserve, and he still ranks sixth in the league despite missing eight games.

Tennessee will still have to decide whether to add Henry to the 53-man roster before Sunday’s game in Houston or hold him out for the playoffs. They clinched their second straight AFC South championship last week with a 34-3 rout of Miami, and they can clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a win in Houston. That would give Tennessee two more weeks for Henry to work any rust off from his injury. The Titans last earned the AFC’s No. 1 seed in 2008 and also in 2000.

In other NFL news:

— The AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals won’t play quarterback Joe Burrow this week to make sure he is healthy for the first round of the playoffs. Burrow is nursing aches and pains, including his right knee and sore pinky finger but said he could have played Sunday at Cleveland had it been necessary. Coach Zac Taylor told the quarterback earlier in the week that he would sit. Running back Joe Mixon and other key starters went on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, but are eligible to test out after five days if they are asymptomatic.

— The NFL has issued a warning to teams that they could lose a draft pick and face significant fines if club representatives conduct themselves unprofessionally in interviews with draft prospects. In a memo obtained by the AP that was sent to clubs, the league said a team would forfeit a draft pick between the first and fourth round and be fined a minimum of $150,000 if it’s determined a club representative displayed conduct that is “disrespectful, inappropriate, or unprofessional” during an interview. Fines and/or suspensions of individual club employees also could be imposed, according to the memo.

— Home field advantage isn’t what it used to be in the NFL. Home teams have posted a .510 winning percentage this season — excluding two games in London — for the third-worst mark since the merger in 1970, with only the .498 winning percentage last season and the .508 in 1972 faring worse. It’s a trend that began the year before the pandemic and continued last season when games were played in mostly empty stadiums.

NBA-NEWS

Unvaccinated Kyrie Irving expected to make season debut at Indiana

UNDATED (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets are expected to put Kyrie Irving on the court Wednesday night at Indiana. Irving is not listed on the injury report for the first time this season.

Irving was held out of the team’s first 35 games because he refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. He has been unable to play at home, and for much of the season was unwelcome on the road. But things are different now.

Coach Steve Nash said with the recent COVID-19 outbreak that left the Nets severely short-handed, having the superstar part-time was a better option than signing more players to 10-day hardship contracts. Nash was still finalizing plans for how the guard will be used.

In other NBA news:

— Portland guard Damian Lillard will miss the next three games because of a lower abdominal tendinopathy. The Trail Blazers say Lillard will undergo further evaluation and consultation concerning the injury, which has bothered him since the Tokyo Olympics. Lillard is expected to miss Wednesday night’s game against visiting Miami, as well as home games Friday against Cleveland and Sunday against Sacramento.

NHL-NEWS

Oilers star McDavid placed on NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list

UNDATED (AP) — Edmonton captain Connor McDavid, forward Derek Ryan and defenseman Tyson Barrie have been placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

McDavid and Ryan were held out of practice Tuesday after returning positive tests. The team was awaiting the results of further testing to determine their status for the Oilers’ matchup with the Maple Leafs Wednesday night.

McDavid had tested negative on Monday before playing in Edmonton’s 4-1 loss against the Rangers in New York.

In other NHL news:

— The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired forward Sam Lafferty in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Alex Nylander. Lafferty is slated to join the slumping Blackhawks in Arizona. The 26-year-old Lafferty, who is signed through this season with a $750,000 salary-cap hit, has no goals and two assists in 10 games with the Penguins this season. Nylander has spent this season with Rockford of the American Hockey League, collecting eight goals and four assists in 23 games. Nylander was selected by Buffalo with the No. 8 pick in the 2016 draft.

TENNIS-NEWS

Djokovic held at Australian border over visa

UNDATED (AP) — Novak Djokovich (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) had to spend the night at the Melbourne airport as officials refused to let him enter the country for the Australian Open after an apparent visa mix-up. That led Serbia’s president to blast the “harassment” of the top-ranked tennis player.

Djokovic flew to Australia after receiving a medical exemption to play at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the season. The exemption allows Djokovic entry to the tournament regardless of his vaccination status for COVID-19. It’s a subject he has declined to clarify amid months of speculation he could miss the season-opening major unless he can prove he’s had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

But Australian media reported that Djokovic’s team had applied for the wrong type of visa for someone with a medical exemption.

In other tennis news:

— Top-ranked Ash Barty has started her 2022 season with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 comeback win over 17-year-old American Coco Gauff in the second round of the Adelaide International. Barty dropped serve twice in the first set and was a break down in the second before recovering to win. Second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka had an upset straight-set loss to No. 100-ranked Kaja Juvan in her first match of the season. Barty and Sabalenka had byes in the first round at Adelaide, one of the main tune-up tournaments for the Australian Open which starts Jan. 17.

IOC-BEIJING OLYMPICS

IOC assures teams Winter Olympics in Beijing will go ahead

GENEVA (AP) — The International Olympic Committee has promised Olympic teams worldwide that the Winter Games in Beijing will go ahead as planned next month.

The assurance Wednesday came a day after Switzerland’s team leader asked for talks about possibly postponing the Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC is hoping to avoid a second straight delay. The Tokyo Games, originally scheduled to be held in 2020, were postponed by one year. That decision was made four months before the scheduled opening ceremony.

Beijing organizers and the IOC are creating a health safety bubble for the Olympics with stricter testing and limits on travel and movement than were enforced at last year’s Tokyo Games. The rules include a 21-day quarantine for athletes, officials and workers not fully vaccinated, daily testing even for vaccinated people and also keeping local staff within the bubble. International fans are again being kept away though tickets to attend events in stadiums will be sold to people living in China.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL-OBIT-ROSS BROWNER

Ross Browner, 2-time All-American at Notre Dame, dies at 67

UNDATED (AP) — Ross Browner, a two-time All-American at Notre Dame and longtime defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals, has died. He was 67.

Browner’s son, former NFL offensive lineman Max Starks, posted on Twitter that his father had died. A native of Warren, Ohio, Browner was part of an accomplished football family. He was the oldest of six brothers, and three others, Jimmie Browner, Keith Browner and Joey Browner, also played in the NFL.

Browner was a four-year starter at Notre Dame, helping the Fighting Irish win national titles in 1973 and 1977.

Categories: National Sports