Weekend Sports in Brief

National Sports

PRO BASKETBALL

The NBA postponed a total of five games involving nine teams Sunday in response to rising coronavirus cases, raising the number of contests pushed back this season to seven.

Called off were three Sunday games: Cleveland at Atlanta, Denver at Brooklyn and New Orleans at Philadelphia. Also shelved were Orlando’s game at Toronto on Monday and Washington’s game at Brooklyn on Tuesday.

The postponements came on the same day Atlanta announced star guard Trae Young entered the league’s health and safety protocols and the Los Angeles Lakers said coach Frank Vogel also was added to the list.

Leaguewide, through Sunday evening, there were at least 75 players from 20 teams who have either been ruled out to play – or in the case of the postponed games, would have been ruled out – because they are in the protocols. That number has soared in recent days, with the NBA just one of many sports leagues worldwide dealing with a rapidly worsening issue.

LOS ANGELES (AP)Lakers forward Anthony Davis will be out at least four weeks after spraining a ligament in his left knee.

The team announced the latest major setback Saturday for Davis, the eight-time All-Star with a long injury history – particularly since moving to Los Angeles in 2019.

Davis got hurt during Friday night’s road loss to the Timberwolves. Minnesota forward Jaden McDaniels collided with Davis while off-balance and sent the Lakers star to the court.

An MRI in Chicago on Saturday revealed the sprain. Davis will be re-evaluated in four weeks, taking his latest injury absence into mid-January at least.

Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game this season.

PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) – The NHL and its players association temporarily clamped down on teams crossing the Canadian border and shut down operations of two more teams for a total of seven in hopes of salvaging the season as COVID-19 outbreaks spread across the league.

The Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs were added Sunday to the list of teams told to shut down operations, joining the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators and Boston Bruins.

Canadian-based teams will not play U.S.-based teams from Monday through Thursday ahead of the league’s holiday break (Dec. 24 through Dec. 26). Those postponed games are expected be rescheduled.

The league said the decision was made, in part, because of the ”fluid nature of federal travel restrictions.”

GOLF

ORLANDO, Fla. – John Daly and his college son won the PNC Championship. Tiger Woods and his 12-year-old son made them work for it.

In a remarkable return from a car crash 10 months ago that badly damaged his right leg, Woods and son Charlie set a tournament record with 11 straight birdies and were tied for the lead on the back nine. But they couldn’t birdie the par-5 closing hole.

John Daly II is a freshman at Arkansas. He joined his father in making a key birdie at the 16th to regain the lead. The two-putt birdie at the end gave them a 57 in the scramble. They set a tournament record at 27 under to win by two.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) – Buck Showalter is back on the bench in New York.

Nearly 30 years since making his name in pinstripes, Showalter was hired as manager of the Mets as he returns to the Big Apple to take over his fifth major league team.

The former New York Yankees skipper replaces Luis Rojas, let go in early October following two losing seasons. Mets owner Steve Cohen announced the move Saturday on Twitter.

The 65-year-old Showalter received a three-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the length of the agreement had not been announced.

Showalter has managed more than 3,000 big league games over 20 seasons with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Orioles.

He joins Hall of Famers Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra and Joe Torre as managers of both the Mets and Yankees. Dallas Green held both jobs as well.

– By Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick.

TENNIS

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied saying she was sexually assaulted, despite a November social media post attributed to her that accused a former top Communist Party official of forcing her into sex.

The Lianhe Zaobao Chinese-language newspaper posted video of Peng it says was taken Sunday in Shanghai in which she said she has been mainly staying at home in Beijing but was free to come and go as she chose.

SYDNEY (AP) – Former U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem’s lengthy recovery from a right wrist injury has forced him to miss the ATP Cup and another tournament in Sydney ahead of next month’s Australian Open.

Thiem was expected to play in Dubai this week but withdrew after catching a cold and returning to Austria.

The ATP Cup team event is scheduled for Sydney from Jan. 1-9 and the ATP tournament from Jan. 9-15. The Australian Open begins Jan. 17 in Melbourne.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Jennifer Brady became the latest withdrawal from next month’s Australian Open and two warmup tournaments because of injury.

Australian Open officials confirmed the 2021 finalist would miss the tournament due to a left foot injury.

Brady, ranked 25th, made her maiden grand slam final at last year’s event at Melbourne Park, losing in straight sets to Naomi Osaka.

The 26-year-old American has not played competitively since August.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The men’s basketball game scheduled for Tuesday between No. 15 Ohio State and Tennessee-Martin was canceled Sunday due to continuing COVID-19 issues within the Buckeyes’ program.

Word of the cancellation came two days after Ohio State was supposed to play No. 21 Kentucky in Las Vegas in the CBS Sports Classic, a game that also was scrapped. Neither game will be rescheduled.

Ohio State (8-2) last played on Dec. 11, a 73-55 victory over then-No. 22 Wisconsin. The Buckeyes’ next scheduled game is Dec. 28 at home against New Orleans.

Elsewhere, a day after Memphis canceled Saturday’s game with No. 18 Tennessee less than an hour before tipoff, Memphis announced that its game Tuesday against Alabama State would not be played due to COVID-19 issues within the Tigers’ program.

PRO FOOTBALL

Only unvaccinated players and those experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested under the NFL’s revised protocols.

The changes took effect Sunday. Also, higher risk players have until 2 p.m. Monday to send written notice if they choose to opt out, according to a memo sent to clubs on Saturday and obtained by The Associated Press. The players will not be paid and the notice is irrevocable.

– By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi.

COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Dana Rettke’s 11th kill gave Wisconsin a 22-25, 31-29, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12 victory over Nebraska and the Badgers’ first national championship in women’s volleyball.

The 6-foot-8 Rettke, the National Player of the Year and a five-time first-team All-American, also finished with a career-high 13 blocks in her collegiate finale.

Wisconsin (31-3) set a championship game record with 24 blocks.

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

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