Thursday's Sports in Brief

Thursday's Sports in Brief

DENVER (AP) Caleb Moore, an innovative freestyle snowmobile rider who was hurt in a crash at the Winter X Games in Colorado, died Thursday morning. He was 25.

Moore was being treated at a hospital in Grand Junction since the Jan. 24 crash. Family spokeswoman Chelsea Lawson confirmed his death, the first in the 18 year history of the X Games.

``He lived his life to the fullest. He was an inspiration,'' Lawson said.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Phil Mickelson missed a 59 by a fraction of an inch in the first round of the Phoenix Open.

Mickelson had a chance to become the sixth player in PGA Tour history to break 60 with a 25-foot birdie attempt on his last hole, the par-4 ninth at TPC Scottsdale. The putt looked good all the way, and Mickelson pointed his putter at the cup as he prepared to celebrate.

Right at the end, though, the ball caught the right edge of the cup, curled 180 degrees to the other side of the hole and stayed out.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Vijay Singh withdrew from the Phoenix Open a day after saying he used deer-antler spray and was ``absolutely shocked'' that it may contain a banned substance.

Singh cited a back injury in pulling out before the first round.

The 49-year-old Fijian first revealed he used the spray in an interview with Sports Illustrated. The magazine said Singh paid one of the owners of Sports With Alternatives To Steroids $9,000 last November for the spray, hologram chips and other products.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Richard Sterne nearly broke the course record at the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday, shooting 10-under 62 in the first round to finish one shot ahead of Stephen Gallacher.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Three black former NFL head coaches say the league needs to rethink its Rooney Rule for promoting minority hiring after 15 top vacancies - eight head coaching jobs and seven general manager positions - were all filled by white candidates since the regular season ended a month ago.

``Obviously, it's not working the way it should,'' said Tony Dungy, who was with the Indianapolis Colts during the 2006 season when he became the first black coach to win a Super Bowl.

Former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards and Jim Caldwell, who succeeded Dungy in Indianapolis, also say the rule implemented in 2003 and named for Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney needs to be revisited.

Before the rule went into effect, the NFL had had only six minority head coaches in more than 80 years. Since it has been in place, 12 have been hired.

But none were hired this year to replace the two black coaches who were fired - Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Lovie Smith in Chicago - and the one fired black GM, Rod Graves in Arizona.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver apologized for anti-gay comments he made to a comedian during Super Bowl media day, saying ``that's not what I feel in my heart.''

``I'm sorry if I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments,'' Culliver said during an hour-long media session. ``Hopefully I learn and grow from this experience and this situation.''

He said he would welcome a gay teammate to the 49ers, a reversal of his remarks to Artie Lange two days earlier during an interview at the Superdome.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Donald Driver, the Green Bay Packers all-time leading receiver, announced his retirement, with a public ceremony planned for Feb. 6 at the Lambeau Field Atrium.

``I've always said I never want to wear another uniform. I've always said that I owe it to the fans to retire as a Packer,'' Driver said. ``I feel like I can still play, but if I can't play for my organization, then I can't play for anyone else.''

Driver finishes his 14-year career as Green Bay's all-time leader in yards receiving (10,137 yards), catches (743) and 1,000-yard seasons (seven), and is third behind Don Hutson and Sterling Sharpe with 61 touchdown receptions. A four-time Pro Bowler, he was Green Bay's MVP in 2002 and was part of the team that won the Super Bowl following the 2010 season.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Beyonce answered critics of her Inauguration Day performance the best way she could - with another sterling performance of the national anthem.

The difference?

On Thursday, it was live: She admitted during her Super Bowl news conference that when she performed for President Barack Obama and the nation, she decided to sing to a prerecorded track because she didn't have time to practice. Calling herself a self-proclaimed ``perfectionist,'' she said wanted the day to go off without a hitch.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The NFL Players Association wants the San Diego Chargers to replace team doctor David Chao, who lost a malpractice lawsuit last summer and is facing an attempt to have his medical license suspended or revoked.

SEATTLE (AP) - Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill has made his first court appearance since he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend.

Hill made an initial appearance in King County District Court. He is being held on $150,000 bail and has a second court appearance scheduled for Friday.


PARIS (AP) - In a dazzling career filled with riches and titles, David Beckham is taking his globe-trotting soccer tour to one of the most alluring destinations of all.

The 37-year-old midfielder signed a five-month contract with Paris Saint-Germain, and has agreed to essentially play for free. He will donate his salary to a children's charity.


Ronaiah Tuiasosopo fell in love with Manti Te'o and said all his energy went into pretending to be the woman the Notre Dame linebacker came to know as Lennay Kekua.

Tuiasosopo, the 22-year-old mastermind of the elaborate hoax that embarrassed Te'o and left him looking gullible, spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the ``Dr. Phil Show,'' the first part of which aired Thursday.

Tuiasosopo said Te'o knew nothing of the scam, and doesn't believe he ever suspected Kekua was fake.

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State coach Bill Snyder signed a new five-year contract that includes an increase in base compensation to $14.75 million over the life of the contract.

The new deal, which rolls over annually, replaces one signed in 2009 that did not specify Snyder's compensation past the fifth year. Snyder will now make $2.75 million for the 2013 season with annual increases of $100,000 through the 2017 season.


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Just three months after becoming the first Venezuelan to win the World Series MVP award, Pablo Sandoval is celebrating a new feat - the championship win of his team in Venezuela's professional league.

The 26-year-old slugger helped lead his team, the Navegantes del Magallanes, to an 11-9 win on Wednesday night in the final game of the championship series over the Cardenales.

Sandoval hit one home run and two doubles, and had two RBIs. He was selected most valuable player for the series, and his team won its first title since 2002 in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract with Martin Prado just a week after acquiring the former All-Star infielder in the trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta.

PHOENIX (AP) - Former Arizona Diamondbacks television analyst Mark Grace was sentenced to four months in jail under a work-release program.

The 48-year-old former first baseman with the Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs pleaded guilty to felony endangerment and misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Greg Jamison missed his deadline to buy the Phoenix Coyotes before a lease agreement with the City of Glendale expires.

The former CEO of the San Jose Sharks had until midnight Thursday to buy the team from the NHL under the terms of the lease agreement with Glendale, but was unable to get the money or investors he needed in time to hit the deadline.


HERNING, Denmark (AP) - Danish rider Michael Rasmussen admitted that he took performance-enhancing drugs for more than a decade, the latest cyclist to acknowledge doping since Lance Armstrong's confession this month.

Rasmussen, a climbing specialist who won stage victories in the Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta, said he took testosterone and growth hormones and had blood transfusions from 1998-2010 in an effort to boost his performance.

The 38-year-old Dane said he would quit the sport and cooperate with anti-doping agencies. In return, Danish anti-doping officials said they would seek a two-year suspension instead of the eight years that normally comes with a second violation.


DEER VALLEY, Utah (AP) - Hannah Kearney, Heather McPhie and Eliza Outtrim completed an American sweep at a freestyle World Cup moguls event at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.

It was only the second sweep by U.S. women, with the other occurring Jan. 21, 2010, in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Kearney won gold in 2010 as well, while McPhie took bronze behind Shannon Bahrke.


DALLAS (AP) - A North Texas jury has found the 22-year-old son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel guilty of murder in the shooting death of a longtime friend.

A Dallas County jury deliberated about 2 1/2 hours before returning its guilty verdict against Nickey Maxwell Van Exel. The penalty phase begins Friday.

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

The Washington Wizards lost to the San Antonio Spurs 98-90 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Streak continues: Many will tell you that San Antonio, TX is a wonderful city rife with history, good restaurants and warm weather. Please excuse the Washington Wizards if they hate the place.

They lost to the Spurs in a blowout on Wednesday and remain winless in San Antonio going all the way back to 1999. It was their 18th straight loss when playing at the Spurs.

The Spurs win games with their defense and this one was no exception. The Wizards scored their fewest points since Jan. 22, nearly two months, and shot just 42.7 percent. The Spurs hold opponents to the lowest points per game in the NBA (99.0) and the Wizards fell into all of their traps.

Bradley Beal was the only one immune to it. He had 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The rest of the Wizards shot just 26-for-69 (37.7%).

Losing in San Antonio has come to be expected for the Wizards, but they picked a bad night to drop a game. The Cavaliers and Sixers both won. Philly winning means more because they passed the Wizards in the East and currently sit fourth while the Wizards are in the sixth spot. 

If the playoffs began with those seeds, the Wizards would see the Cavaliers in the first round. Even though the Cavs aren't what they were a year ago, that should be avoided if possible.


Hustle plays: The Spurs also beat the Wizards at the minor details of the game, something they have long been good at under head coach Gregg Popovich. They got the loose balls and offensive rebounds at key moments to either sustain or steal momentum away from Washington.

In the first half, 40-year-old Manu Ginobli dove on the ground to beat Ramon Sessions to a loose ball and it led to two points by Pau Gasol. In the third quarter, Patty Mills flipped around quickly to steal an outlet pass from Marcin Gortat that led to free throws. And in the third there was one play when the Spurs got three offensive rebounds and ultimately got to the free throw line again.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Wizards 43-34 overall and outdid them in offensive rebounds 12-8. They just wanted it more on this particular night.


Oubre stood out: The Spurs' defense got the best of most players on the Wizards, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. was an exception. The third-year pro has been struggling with his shot in recent weeks, so in this one he stuck to high percentage looks, at least early. He had 10 points in his first nine minutes on 5-for-7 shooting, many of those attempts right around the rim.

Oubre attacked the lane dribbling both to his left and his right. He finished with floaters, tough layups and on one fastbreak with a thunderous left-handed slam:

Oubre ended up with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He shot 9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from three.

Oubre has continued to make an impact defensively, even when his shot is not falling. But he has to get more creative some nights to affect games when he isn't hitting from long range. Wednesday was a good example of how he can use his athleticism to take matters into his own hands.

It is a tricky balance, however, because sometimes his aggression can lead to mistakes. That certainly happened at times even in this game, as he had two turnovers. But when Oubre can contain his explosiveness, he can make a big difference.


Under the weather: Already without Wall, the Wizards had to shorten their rotation by two players against the Spurs as both Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott were out due to flu-like symptoms. In Meeks and Scott, the Wizards were missing two key pieces on their bench.

Instead of giving Tim Frazier and Jason Smith a rare and extended opportunity, head coach Scott Brooks instead chose to tighted things up. He relied heavily on the starters until the game was out of hand.

Brooks also got experimental, playing Tomas Satoransky (zero points, 0-for-7 FG) and Sessions together in the second quarter with Oubre and Otto Porter (12 points, seven rebounds) as the forwards. In the fourth quarter, we saw a lineup with three point guards: Sessions, Frazier and Satoransky.

The fact the Wizards had three days off before this game helped allow Brooks to rely on his starters early. It was also an opportunity for Brooks to see what life will be like when Wall returns. There is a chance Satoransky could see more time off the ball. This gave him another glimpse of how he can use Satoransky in more creative ways once the minutes at point guard go down significantly.


Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before returning home to host the Denver Nuggets on Friday with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington. That will be a special night at Capital One Arena as the Wizards retire Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey. 

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by guest co-host Travis Thomas to break down Bradley Beal's All-NBA chances and John Wall's injury rehab.

They also discussed the crazy Eastern Conference playoff race, Trae Young's draft stock and essentials for a good snow day.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!