AP source: Lakers bracing for James to miss multiple weeks
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers may miss multiple weeks with an injury to his right foot. The full extent of the injury is not yet known and more test results are pending. That’s according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither James nor the Lakers had announced anything about a long-term absence. The Lakers had already ruled James out Tuesday’s game at Memphis with what they called right foot soreness. James is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and is trying to lead the Lakers into the playoffs.
LaMelo Ball breaks ankle, latest setback in rough season
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — LaMelo Ball’s frustrating, injury-plagued season could be over after the point guard broke his right ankle in Charlotte’s 117-106 win over the Detroit Pistons. Ball has already missed 27 games this season after spraining his left ankle three different times. He and the Hornets were playing their best basketball of the season before the point guard fell to the floor on a non-contact play in the third quarter. X-rays revealed the fracture to his ankle. The Hornets have not said how much time Ball will miss. But with Charlotte well out of playoff contention, it’s unlikely he’ll be rushed back.
Mets’ Scherzer loves ‘cat-and-mouse’ game of MLB’s new rules
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer described pitching under Major League Baseball’s new rules as a “cat-and-mouse” game. Contrary to previous years, Scherzer feels the pitcher finally has control of the tempo because of the new pitch clock. In his first start of the Grapefruit League schedule, Scherzer was touched for a run in the second inning but struck out five while working the first two innings of the Mets’ 6-3 win over Washington. The average game time through three days of spring training is 2 hours, 39 minutes, down from an average of 3:01 for all of spring training last year.
Alaba abused, Croatia coach critical following FIFA awards
GENEVA (AP) — Real Madrid defender David Alaba has been racially abused on social media after voting for Lionel Messi and Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has accused FIFA of disrespect in fallout from the soccer body’s annual awards ceremony. Messi was named the best men’s player on Monday and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema placed third. The awards were decided by a poll of national team captains and coaches, selected media and fans voting online. Alaba’s vote as Austria’s national team captain provoked anger from Real Madrid fans and others. Alaba is Black and Messi played for Madrid-rival Barcelona for 17 years. Dalić says he refused to vote in protest at a perceived lack of respect for himself and his team.
Messi and Putellas voted best players at FIFA awards again
PARIS (AP) — World Cup winner Lionel Messi has won FIFA’s Best Men’s Player award for 2022. Spain’s Alexia Putellas won FIFA’s Best Women’s Player award for the second straight time. Messi won the voting over Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema. Putellas won the women’s voting over Alex Morgan of the United States and England’s Beth Mead. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has been voted FIFA men’s coach of the year after leading his team to the World Cup title in December. The women’s coach award went to Sarina Wiegman after she led England to the title at the Women’s European Championship.
Commanders release quarterback Carson Wentz after one season
The Washington Commanders have released quarterback Carson Wentz. The expected move comes after their one-season experiment with Wentz did not work out. Washington was able to get out of the final two years of Wentz’s contract without any salary cap penalty. Wentz threw for 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in eight games, including three picks in a late-season loss to Cleveland that contributed to knocking the Commanders out of playoff contention. Wentz could be on his fourth NFL team in as many years if he’s signed as a free agent. The team also released veteran safety Bobby McCain.
MLB average salary rose 14.8% to record $4.22M last season
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s average salary rose 14.8% to a record $4.22 million last year after the end of the lockout, boosted by big deals for Max Scherzer, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. The rate of increase was the highest since a 17.7% increase in 2000 to $1.61 million, according to final calculations by the players’ association. The average had dropped in each of the previous four seasons before 2022, sparking player anger that was expressed by the union during a 99-day lockout that ended last March.
It’s working: Pitch clock shaves 20 minutes from early games
So far, baseball’s new speed-up rules are working. The first-ever major league pitch clock and other rules have helped cut more than 20 minutes from spring training games through the first weekend. The average time of game has dropped from 3 hours, 1 minute last spring to 2:39. Players and umpires are still adjusting to the rules. In the Cubs game against the Diamondbacks, both pitcher Joe Mantiply and batter Brennen Davis were penalized for being too slow at the start of the third inning, so Davis’ at-bat started with a count of 1-1.
Maple Leafs up ante in East by making trade with Blackhawks
The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired forward Sam Lafferty and defenseman Jake McCabe from the Chicago Blackhawks. Their latest big trade comes the day after division-rival Tampa Bay paid a hefty price to acquire forward Tanner Jeannot from Nashville. Talent continues to flow to Eastern Conference contenders ahead of the NHL trade deadline Friday. In recent days, New Jersey got big winger Timo Meier from San Jose and Boston traded with Washington for Garnet Hathaway and Dmitry Orlov.
Conference championships on the line in season’s final week
The final week of the regular season is here, the calendar rounding toward March Madness. A handful of regular-season titles are already wrapped up. Several are still up in the air, like the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences. No. 25 Pittsburgh has a half-game lead over No. 16 Miami in the ACC with a game against the Hurricanes on Saturday. No. 3 Kansas leads No. 9 Texas by a game in the Big 12 and will play the Longhorns on Saturday. Top-ranked Houston and No. 4 UCLA are among the teams that have already clinched regular-season titles.