Thursday Sports in Brief

National Sports

NFL

The NFL says 93% of players are vaccinated for COVID-19 and the league wanted mandatory vaccination but the NFLPA wouldn’t agreed to it.

The league also has asked the players’ union to adjust protocols so vaccinated players would be tested weekly instead of every 14 days. Unvaccinated players are tested daily.

NFLPA president JC Tretter, a center for the Cleveland Browns, said earlier this week the decision not to make vaccination mandatory was done by the league. But league officials disputed that assertion.

MLB

PHILADELPHIA (AP)Rhys Hoskins will miss the rest of the season with an abdominal tear that requires surgery, the Philadelphia Phillies slugger announced Thursday.

Hoskins leads the Phillies with 27 homers and 71 RBIs, and the news is a major blow to the team’s playoff hopes. Philadelphia entered Thursday trailing first-place Atlanta by five games in the NL East.

Hoskins had been playing through an abdominal injury all season, but he aggravated it when he dove awkwardly for a ball at Washington on Aug. 5.

TENNIS

NEW YORK (AP) – Novak Djokovic will begin his bid to win the U.S. Open for a men’s-record 21st major tennis championship and to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam by facing a player who comes through qualifying.

Djokovic’s potential path could include 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori in the third round, Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berretini in the quarterfinals and Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.

Naomi Osaka’s first Grand Slam action since taking a mental health break will come against Marie Bouzkova.

Main draw play in New York begins Monday with spectators allowed at full capacity, a year after all fans were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The Pac-12 said Thursday it will stand pat with its membership and not look to expand the 12-team conference, making it highly unlikely that the Big 12 schools being left behind by Texas and Oklahoma will find new Power Five homes.

The announcement comes two days after the Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten pledged to work together on governance issues and scheduling agreements in football and basketball.

The formation of a three-conference alliance came a little less than a month after the Southeastern Conference invited Texas and Oklahoma to join the league in 2025. The move would coincide with the end of the Big 12’s current television contract.

NHL

The Carolina Hurricanes have agreed to terms with forward Andrei Svechnikov on an eight-year contract, which is set to keep the No. 2 overall draft pick from 2018 with the franchise through the 2028-29 season.

The team said Thursday the deal will pay the 21-year-old Svechnikov an average annual value of $7.75 million per season. The team has scheduled an online news conference for Svechnikov with team president and general manager Don Waddell for Thursday afternoon.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Svechnikov has been a fixture and physical presence on Carolina’s top line alongside Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia Flyers signed No. 1 center Sean Couturier to an eight-year contract extension worth $62 million.

Couturier counts $7.75 million against the salary cap with his contract that begins after next season and runs through 2029-30. It’s the same value as the contract Andrei Svechnikov agreed to with the Carolina Hurricanes earlier Thursday.

Couturier won the Selke Trophy in 2020 as the league’s best defensive forward. He had 18 goals and 23 assists last season.

SOCCER

ISTANBUL (AP) – The Champions League group stage will see a clash of two of the richest clubs after Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City were drawn together on Thursday.

Also in Group A are Leipzig and Club Brugge.

There are other heavyweight pairings this season because of the way the seedings worked out.

Six-time winner Bayern Munich and five-time champion Barcelona are in Group E with Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv. Group D sees Real Madrid and Inter Milan alongside Shakhtar Donetsk and Moldovan newcomer Sheriff. Defending champion Chelsea is with Juventus in Group H with Zenit St. Petersburg and Malmo.

In Group B are Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Porto. In Group F are Europa League winner Villarreal, Manchester United, Atalanta and Young Boys.

Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Besiktas in Group C. Lille, Sevilla, Salzburg, and Wolfsburg are in Group G.

COURTS

MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy has been charged with four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault, police said Thursday.

The 27-year-old Mendy was suspended by City pending an investigation.

”The charges relate to three complainants over the age of 16 and are alleged to have taken place between October 2020 and August 2021,” Cheshire Police said in a statement.

Mendy was to remain in police custody overnight and is due to appear in court on Friday, police said.

OBITUARY

LONDON (AP) – Ted Dexter, the charismatic former England cricket captain who went on to become the national team’s chief selector and founded the ranking system used by the sport’s governing body, has died. He was 86.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, where Dexter was a former president, said Thursday he died Wednesday surrounded by his family in a hospice following a recent illness.

Dexter, who was born in Milan, was a middle-order batsman who played 62 tests for England from 1958-68, captaining the team 30 times. He scored 4,502 runs and took 66 wickets with his seam bowling. Six of his nine centuries were above 140.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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