Ravens

Isner out of Hopman Cup with knee injury

Isner out of Hopman Cup with knee injury

PERTH, Australia (AP) John Isner withdrew from the Hopman Cup on Thursday with a right knee injury, ending the American team's chances of reaching the final of the eight-country tournament and handing a championship berth to Spain.

Isner, who still hopes to compete at the Australian Open beginning Jan. 14, played with tape on his knee when he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France on Tuesday and later said he was suffering from ``a little tendinitis.'' He also lost to South African Kevin Anderson in his opening match on Sunday.

The highest-ranked American at No. 14, Isner said he still plans to play in next week's Sydney International and the Australian Open.

``My plan now is just to treat it as best I can and see how it reacts,'' Isner said. ``I do know I've always been a fast healer when I've had little injuries pop up here and there, so I'm confident I'm going to be fine for the Australian Open.

``It's not a great way to start the year but I'd rather it happen this week than in two weeks.''

Later Thursday, Bernard Tomic followed up his victory over No. 1 Novak Djokovic by beating Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-5 and Ashleigh Barty defeated Francesca Schiavone 6-0, 6-3 to help Australia beat Italy.

Australia and Serbia, which plays Germany on Friday, are bidding to meet Spain in Saturday's final.

Spain and the United States were 2-0 in round-robin play heading into Thursday's match, but Spain was awarded a walkover after Isner's injury.

Isner was replaced by his Australian hitting partner, Thanasi Kokkinakis, for an exhibition singles match against Fernando Verdasco. The Spaniard won 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Venus Williams also remained undefeated in her three singles matches as she recovered from a slow start to beat Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-4.

After dropping the opening game on a double-fault, Williams was treated for a blister on her left foot and also taped her right wrist. She then broke to level the set at 2-2 and again at love to lead 5-3.

Williams broke the Spaniard's serve two more times in the second set to earn a comfortable victory.

``I got to play a lot and pull a lot out of myself and I feel that with every match my serve got better,'' Williams said. ``This is the best day I've returned, my consistency (is good),'' Williams said. ``That's what I wanted.''

She said her blisters were not a problem after they were treated.

``Once I got that taken care of I was able to run a lot better,'' she said. ``And once I got my wrist wrapped, that was fine, too.''

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Steelers will require fans to wear a mask at Heinz Field, should they be allowed

Steelers will require fans to wear a mask at Heinz Field, should they be allowed

If fans are permitted to attend Pittsburgh Steelers home games this fall, there's one item they can't forget: a mask.

Steelers' director of communication, Burt Lauten, explained the decision to require fans to wear a mask in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our goal is to still have fans at Heinz Field this year with the understanding that social distancing, as well as all fans being required to wear masks, will play a role in the capacity to ensure a safe atmosphere," Lauten said, via ESPN. "We will continue to work with the NFL and public health officials to finalize plans for fans to attend our home games."

Pittsburgh was one of the first franchises to alter its ticketing plans this season, as they decided in May to trim half of their individual game ticket sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The news comes just hours after their AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens, announced that M&T Bank Stadium will be capped at less than 14,000 fans this fall, should fans be allowed to attend games.

RELATED: NFL PROPOSED PAY CUT FOR PLAYERS

In June, The Athletic reported that the NFL will not place a limit on capacity at games, allowing each individual team to make the decision themselves.

"Attendance will be a state-by-state, county-by-county thing," an anonymous NFL source told The Athletic. "It will not be a one size fits all."

Additionally, the NFL has said that the first 6-8 rows of lower bowl sections, including field-level suites, will be blocked off this fall to help slow the spread of the virus. Those sections will be covered with tarps, which teams can use to sell advertising, similarly to what the Premier League in England has done.

With training camp still a few weeks away, there are a lot of virus-related questions the NFL must answer beforehand.

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Howard is a finalist for 2021 five-star defensive end Korey Foreman

Howard is a finalist for 2021 five-star defensive end Korey Foreman

The Howard University football program has moved a step closer to landing perhaps its highest-ranked recruit in years, if not ever.

Five-star defensive end Korey Foreman trimmed his college choice to seven on Wednesday evening, and the Howard Bison were on the list. The other six schools were Southern California (USC), LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, and Georgia.

In Foreman's tweet, he explained why Howard, a historically Black college (HBCU), was included in his list.

"I am a young black man that is happy and proud of my race," he wrote. "The Black Lives Matter movement is and forever will be powerful and definitely never forgotten. These are the schools I will now be focusing on the most. Set the standard and .. be different."

The news comes just a week after the Howard basketball program landed five-star Makur Maker, who chose the Bison over Division I schools UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis. Maker was the highest-ranked recruit Howard basketball has landed in its history. Mikey Williams, a top-five basketball recruit in the 2023 class, has already hinted about potentially playing at an HBCU as well.

Foreman, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end, is projected to commit to USC, according to 247Sports. Foreman is ranked the No. 2 overall prospect on 247Sports recruiting rankings for the 2021 class.

However, if the last few weeks are any indication, Howard can't be ruled out.

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