Update on the latest sports



Derrick Henry cleared to practice…Burrow to sit out Sunday

UNDATED (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have made the easy move opening the 21-day window for Derrick Henry to practice with the team. The next decision and the timing is much more challenging. Taking the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year off injured reserve by Sunday means he could help beat Houston and clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

Waiting means hoping the Titans earn the first-round bye without Henry giving him more time from Oct. 31 when he broke his right foot.

Henry was the NFL’s leading rusher with 937 yards when he was put on injured reserve. He still ranks sixth in the league despite missing eight games.

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.

— Jimmy Garoppolo has resumed throwing for the San Francisco 49ers and took part in practice in a limited role but that doesn’t mean his sprained right thumb is close to fully recovered. Garoppolo tore a ligament in the thumb on Dec. 23 and was held out of practice last week. Garoppolo says the thumb still hurts and the Niners don’t know whether he or rookie Trey Lance will start. San Francisco makes the playoffs with a win.

— Kirk Cousins has returned to the Minnesota Vikings from COVID-19 reserve. He missed the previous game while experiencing mild symptoms. That loss at Green Bay eliminated the Vikings from contention for the playoffs. They play Chicago on Sunday in a meaningless finale game. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer plans to play Cousins and all of the other regulars who are healthy enough. Cousins has one year left on his contract and wants to remain with the Vikings for the rest of his career.

— Davante Adams was a rookie with the Green Bay Packers in 2014 when Jordy Nelson set the franchise’s single-season record for yards receiving. Adams appears on the verge of shattering his former teammate’s record. Adams heads into the Packers’ final regular-season game with 1,498 yards receiving. He needs just 21 more to match Nelson’s 2014 total of 1,519. The Packers plan to play their usual starters Sunday even though they have nothing at stake after already clinching the NFC’s top seed and lone first-round playoff bye.

— Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy insists he has not been informed by his bosses that the season finale at Minnesota will be his last game leading the team. Nagy could be on his way out after four seasons with the Bears owning a 6-10 record heading into Sunday’s game. If he is, that would end a run that started on a promising note. The Bears won the division at 12-4 in 2018. But they declined after that. Nagy expects rookie quarterback Justin Fields to start against the Vikings after missing the past two games because of an ankle injury.

— 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. 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.

— The NFL, not surprisingly in the midst of a rise in COVID-19 cases, has looked into other potential sites for next month’s Super Bowl. That’s not unusual because the league does so every year. But with Los Angeles the site for this year’s title game, and restrictions increasing for attendance at indoor events, it has become more noteworthy.


Unvaccinated Kyrie Irving expected to make season debut at Indiana

UNDATED (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets are expected to put Kyrie Irving on the court tonight 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.

— The New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to allow forward Zion Williamson to continue his rehabilitation from a broken foot away from team headquarters. Williamson averaged a team-high 27 points and was an All-Star last season. He was trying to return to practice in mid-December when imaging of his foot revealed a setback. The Pelicans play next on Thursday night when they host Golden State.


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

UNDATED (AP) — Edmonton captain and reigning league MVP Connor McDavid has been placed on on NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. McDavid, forward Derek Ryan and defenseman Tyson Barrie went into protocols before the Oilers’ game at Toronto. McDavid hadn’t missed any of Edmonton’s first 33 games.

While McDavid was out, the Dallas Stars and their captain Jamie Benn were getting ready for their first game since December 20. They host Florida on Thursday. Benn is among 11 Stars players who have been through COVID protocols since Dallas last played.

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.


Djokovic held at Australian border over visa

UNDATED (AP) — Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) has been denied entry to Australia. His visa has been canceled by border authorities. Djokovic had to spend the night at the Melbourne airport after officials refused to let him enter the country for the Australian Open after an apparent visa mix-up. 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.


Mid-major pop-up game pits San Francisco and Loyola Chicago

UNDATED (AP) — San Francisco and Loyola Chicago struggled to find opponents for college basketball games so they decided to meet in the middle. The Dons and Ramblers are set to play in Salt Lake City on Thursday, an unexpected mid-major pop-up game.

San Francisco had games against Saint Mary’s and No. 4 Gonzaga in the past week shelved due to coronavirus protocols. Loyola Chicago has not played since Dec. 10 thanks to a mix of opponent coronavirus pauses and its own before Christmas. The Ramblers had their sixth game of the season shelved when Illinois State had to bow out.

That sets the stage for two of the nation’s best mid-majors to square off at a Salt Lake City community college.


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.

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.


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