Hampered by bad hip, Rafael Nadal loses at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal says his hip was injured during a second-round loss at the Australian Open to Mackenzie McDonald. The 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 defeat abruptly ended Nadal’s title defense and bid for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam trophy. Nadal pulled up awkwardly at the end of a point late in the second set against the 65th-ranked McDonald. The No. 1-seeded Nadal was visited by a trainer on the sideline and then left the court for a medical timeout. His wife wiped away tears up in the stands. Nadal returned to play but was physically compromised and not his usual chase-every-ball self.
Purdy, Lawrence, Jones have memorable playoff debuts
A trio of playoff quarterback newcomers provided some memorable playoff moments. Brock Purdy, Trevor Lawrence and Daniel Jones all won in their first career starts in the postseason with performances for the history books. This marked the first time since the 2017 season that three QBs won in their first playoff starts in the same postseason. Purdy was the first rookie QBs to account for four TDs in a playoff game, Lawrence led the third biggest playoff comeback and Jones became the first quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards and rush for at least 70 in a playoff win.
Pegula, whose family owns Bills, honors Hamlin in Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tennis player Jessica Pegula has Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin on her mind at the Australian Open — and his No. 3 on her outfit. Pegula’s parents own the NFL’s Bills and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. She is wearing a white screen-printed patch with Hamlin’s uniform number on her black skirt while she competes at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the field when he collapsed after making a tackle during a game between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. He spent more than a week in the hospital, part of that time in critical condition. Pegula reached the third round at Melbourne Park with a 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Wednesday.
Staley to return as Chargers coach; Lombardi fired as OC
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Brandon Staley will be back for a third season as the Los Angeles Chargers head coach. The same can not be said for some of his offensive staff. The team on Tuesday announced that offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Shane Day have been fired after two years. Criticism about Lombardi’s play-calling increased throughout the season. The Chargers were ranked ninth in total offense, but 20th in scrimmage yards per play along with the third-worst rushing attack in the league.
Rodgers says he can play at MVP level in right situation
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers believes he can still produce at an MVP level in the right situation if he opts to play next season. Rodgers discussed the uncertainty of his future plans Tuesday during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” on SiriusXM and YouTube. The four-time MVP hasn’t decided whether to return to the Packers, retire or request a trade. Rodgers said he didn’t know whether Green Bay would represent the ideal situation for him and expressed hope the Packers would keep several of their veteran free agents.
AP source: Titans hiring Niners’ Ran Carthon as new GM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A person familiar with the decision says the Tennessee Titans are hiring San Francisco director of player personnel Ran Carthon as their new general manager. The Titans interviewed their seventh candidate Tuesday morning in Buffalo senior director of pro scouting Malik Boyd. But the search committee headed by controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk picked Carthon who interviewed first last Friday. That’s according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Titans have not commented on the hiring. Carthon will be the franchise’s first minority general manager. That brings the NFL to nine minority GMs overall.
Excessive speed listed as cause of fatal UGa wreck
Police say Georgia football player Devin Willock wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle in a weekend crash that killed him and a recruiting staff member. Athens-Clarke County police list excessive speed on a road with a 40 mph limit as a primary cause of the crash early Sunday. The wreck occurred in Athens a few hours after a parade and ceremony honoring the team’s second straight national championship. The 20-year-old Willock, an offensive lineman from New Jersey, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, died shortly after at a hospital.
Flyers’ Provorov cites religion for boycott on Pride night
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov cited his Russian Orthodox religion as the reason he did not participate in pregame warmups when the team wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow Pride tape. The 26-year-old Provorov did not skate with his teammates before Tuesday night’s game against Anaheim as the Flyers celebrated their annual Pride night in celebration and support of the LGBTQ+ community. Provorov said his choice was to stay true to himself and his religion. He played nearly 23 minutes in Philadelphia’s 5-2 victory.
Investigators: Miles provided gun in fatal shooting
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a University of Alabama basketball player charged with capital murder provided the gun used in the fatal shooting. Investigators wrote in a court document that Darius Miles admitted to providing the handgun immediately before the shooting. Another man is accused of firing the gun and killing a young woman near the university’s campus, according to court documents filed in Tuscaloosa. Miles and Michael Davis are charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Jamea Harris early Sunday. The University of Alabama said in a statement that Miles is no longer on the team. Defense lawyers for Miles released a statement saying Miles maintains his innocence and that he and his family “are heartbroken” over Harris’ death.
Biden welcomes the Warriors, pledges support for California
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has hosted the Golden State Warriors, who won the 2022 NBA championship, at the White House. Biden says the team reflects America through its style of play, showcasing “constant motion, with individual freedom and personality that comes together as one team, a team that plays with joy, with drive to be their best.” Biden also expressed support Tuesday for Californians who have suffered through waves of destructive weather, including storms and floods. He plans to visit the state Thursday. The Warriors have won four championships in eight years, but they didn’t visit the White House while Donald Trump was president.