Friday's Sports In Brief - NBC Sports

Friday's Sports In Brief
June 7, 2014, 3:58 am

TENNIS

PARIS (AP) Rafael Nadal is going for No. 9 at the French Open, and the only man that can stop him is Novak Djokovic.

Nadal is already a record eight-time champion with a lifetime 65-1 record at Roland Garros. One more victory on the red clay Sunday will make him the first man to win five in a row and give him his 14th Grand Slam title - tied in second place with Pete Sampras.

The top-seeded Spaniard reached the final by beating Wimbledon champion Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier, the stadium Nadal calls his favorite place to play. Djokovic defeated Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the first semifinal.

PRO BASKETBALL

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - If the NBA Finals resumed Friday, there would be no way LeBron James could play. There's no game until Sunday. And James plans to be ready by then.

With his gait still affected by severe cramping and dehydration, and feeling the effects of a sleepless night brought on by several trips to the bathroom - an unavoidable drawback of having his body filled with fluids - James insisted he will play when the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs get together for Game 2 of the finals. San Antonio's lead in Game 1 was 94-92 after James scored with 4:09 left; he was out of the game for good and unable to move 10 seconds later. From that point, the Spurs finished on a 16-3 run.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - When Flip Saunders officially took over as coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, he assumed a unique position of power in the NBA.

Saunders is now the team president, the head coach and a part-owner in Minnesota. The status gives him as much influence on his team as any one person in the league, and he says he's ready to handle it. The Clippers' Doc Rivers, the Pistons' Stan Van Gundy and the Spurs' Gregg Popovich wield both front office and coaching authority. Now Saunders joins that list.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Utah Jazz announced that they have hired Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Quin Snyder to replace Tyrone Corbin, who was let go earlier this year after three-plus seasons as the head coach in Salt Lake City.

Snyder most recently completed his first season as an assistant with Atlanta. He has also been an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers. He was the head coach at Missouri for seven seasons, from 1999 to 2006, leading the Tigers to four NCAA tournaments. That included an Elite Eight appearance in 2002.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

North Carolina coach Roy Williams and players from the 2005 national championship team deny they were involved with academic wrongdoing alleged by former teammate Rashad McCants.

In an interview with ESPN's "Outside the Lines," McCants - the team's second-leading scorer - said tutors wrote papers for him. He also said he believes Williams knew "100 percent" about players taking no-show classes popular with athletes in a department later linked to fraud in a long-running scandal.

In a statement, Williams said he "strongly" disagreed with McCants' comments. In a joint statement, sixteen players from the 2005 team - including NBA players Raymond Felton and Marvin Williams, and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Sean May - defended their Hall of Fame coach.

WORLD CUP

SAO PAULO (AP) - Brazilian police used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse striking workers inside a subway station, adding to fears that labor unrest could disrupt the World Cup that opens here in six days.

At least three union members were injured in the Sao Paulo clash, said Paulo Iannone, a union spokesman. Operators of the subway and overland trains were in the second day of a strike for higher wages, with no indication that it would end soon. Late Friday, officials and the union representing workers said they had not reached an agreement to end the strike and it would continue into Saturday. That's worrying for authorities because most soccer fans heading to Thursday's opening Cup match in Sao Paulo will need to use the subway.

PARIS (AP) - France's World Cup ambitions were dealt a significant blow just three days before the team's departure for Brazil, with winger Franck Ribery forced to pull out of the tournament after failing to overcome a back injury that has bothered him for several weeks.

Coach Didier Deschamps now has to rethink his whole strategy without France's talismanic player and best attacker. The timing was particularly cruel, as Ribery seemed to have made good progress from the injury, only to suddenly pull up in pain during an individual training session.

PRO FOOTBALL

HOUSTON (AP) - Jadeveon Clowney has his rookie contract with the Houston Texans. Now he needs to learn a new position.

The top overall choice in last month's draft, Clowney signed a four-year contract with the Texans. Houston has an option for a fifth year, as in all NFL contracts with first-round picks under the current collective bargaining agreement. A star defensive end since entering South Carolina in 2011, Clowney will become an outside linebacker with the Texans.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Michael Sam is confident he'll be judged on performance.

The first openly gay player drafted in the NFL said there have been no issues fitting in with his St. Louis Rams teammates, no awkward moments in the locker room and that he was accepted right away. "They respect me as a human being," he said. "And as a football player."

Working out with the full squad this week, Sam realizes he must step up his game to carve out a spot on a loaded defensive line.

NEW YORK (AP) - More than a dozen cities are interested in hosting the NFL draft in 2015 draft, and the league hopes to choose a site this summer.

New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were invited this week to make presentations for next spring's draft. But the league stresses that no finalists have been selected and many other cities are in the running. The draft drew record TV ratings last month. It has been held in New York since 1965, with Radio City Music Hall the venue since 2006. But the Music Hall was not available for the usual late April dates this year and the draft was pushed back to May 8-10.

For the 2015 draft, the NFL is seeking proposals for April 22-25 or April 29-May 2.

HOCKEY

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins fired Dan Bylsma and hired Jim Rutherford as their new general manager.

Bylsma won a franchise-record 252 games behind the bench but failed to produce a bookend to the championship he captured with stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in 2009. The Penguins were just 4-5 in playoff series since raising the Cup, with each loss coming to a lower-seeded team.

BASEBALL

BALTIMORE (AP) - Johan Santana's comeback bid with the Baltimore Orioles ended when the two-time Cy Young Award winner tore his Achilles tendon.

The injury occurred in Florida while Santana was pitching in extended spring training. He was struck by a line drive before stumbling in pursuit of the ball. An MRI revealed a torn tendon. The 35-year-old Santana has not pitched in the majors since 2012 with the New York Mets. The left-hander missed last season after undergoing his second major shoulder surgery, then signed a minor league contract with Baltimore in March.

NEW YORK (AP) - The sons of former big leaguers Lenny Dykstra and Charlie Leibrandt were among the players selected during the second day of the Major League Baseball draft.

Luke Dykstra, an infielder at Westlake High School in suburban Los Angeles, was drafted in the seventh round by Atlanta. Florida State left-hander Brandon Leibrandt went in the sixth round to Philadelphia.

Seminole State Junior College right-hander Jake Cosart, the brother of Astros starter Jarred Cosart, was a third-round pick by Boston. Detroit took UCLA catcher Shane Zeile, the nephew of former big leaguer Todd Zeile, in the fifth round.

After having no picks in the first two rounds, Baltimore made eight selections Friday, including Notre Dame right-hander Pat Connaughton, who also started at guard for the Fighting Irish basketball team.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Video

NBC Sports