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Stomach bug knocks Nadal from Australian Open

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Stomach bug knocks Nadal from Australian Open

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Just when Rafael Nadal had recovered from a knee injury, a stomach virus has delayed his return to tennis by a couple of months.

Nadal announced Friday he will miss next month's Australian Open and probably won't play again until the end of February. The Spaniard said he needs time to recover from the virus that already prevented him from coming back this week at Abu Dhabi.

Nadal has been sidelined since June with a knee injury, which forced him to miss the London Olympics and U.S. Open. He had planned to rejoin the ATP tour at the Qatar Open in Doha next month before the Jan. 14-27 Australian Open, but pulled out of both.

``We just hope he gets better quickly and we see him back on the tour as soon as possible,'' Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said. ``Tennis fans across the world have been missing him.''

While he is expected to recover from the virus in time for the year's first Grand Slam tournament, Nadal and his team said he wouldn't have the proper preparation for a five-set event.

Nadal stressed that his decision had nothing to do with the tendinitis in his left knee. That injury prompted him to take a break following a second-round loss to then 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June.

``My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors,'' Nadal said in a statement from his hometown of Manacor on the island of Mallorca. ``But this virus didn't allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open.''

The former No. 1 hopes to return at a tournament in Acapulco, Mexico, starting Feb. 27. He left open the possibility of playing at an earlier tournament if his recovery went well.

``As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks,'' Nadal said. ``I always said that my return to competition will be when I am in the right conditions to play and after all this time away from the courts I'd rather not accelerate the comeback and prefer to do things well.''

Nadal's doctor, Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, said in the same statement that the player needed at least a week to recover from the virus. That ruled him out for the Qatar Open, which starts Jan. 2.

Nadal's coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, said going straight to a five-set tournament after being sidelined so long was ``not appropriate.''

``It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best-of-five sets event,'' he said in a statement. ``He wouldn't be ready for that.''

Nadal's knee injury prevented the 11-time Grand Slam winner from defending his Olympic singles gold medal at last summer's games, where he was supposed to be Spain's flag-bearer in the opening ceremony. He also had to pull out of the U.S. Open and Spain's Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic, which his teammates lost without him.

Nadal, ranked No. 4, won the Australian Open in 2009. Last year, he lost to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in a title match that lasted 5 hours, 53 minutes, the longest recorded Grand Slam final.

North Carolina vs Wake Forest: Date, Time, TV Channel, How to watch

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North Carolina vs Wake Forest: Date, Time, TV Channel, How to watch

It's the home stretch of the ACC women's basketball conference schedule this season. Two local rivals face off Sunday afternoon as they gear up for the postseason.

North Carolina and Wake Forest have struggled in recent weeks. The Tar Heels enter Sunday's game riding a four-game losing streak, while the Demon Deacons have lost six of their last seven and eight of 10.

With the conference regular season schedule winding down, the two programs are preparing to try to make conference tournament runs to put themselves in position to make the NCAA Tournament.

Even in down years for both, the two schools will be up for this game. Any matchup between local rivals in North Carolina is bound to be a meaningful game for all involved.

This is the only head-to-head matchup for these two teams this season. Here's how to watch.

North Carolina vs Wake Forest: How to Watch

Who: North Carolina Tar Heels (16-10, 7-8 ACC) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (13-14, 6-10 ACC)
What: ACC women's basketball on NBC Sports Washington
When: Sunday, February 23, 12 p.m. ET. 
Where: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC
TV Channel: You can watch North Carolina at Wake Forest on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Maryland basketball to host College GameDay for first time in 15 years

Maryland basketball to host College GameDay for first time in 15 years

It’s happening, folks.

For the first time in 15 years, ESPN College GameDay is coming to College Park.

Maryland basketball, currently ranked 7th in the AP Poll, is hosting Michigan State, formerly number one in the polls, Saturday night at 8 p.m.

The Terps played at Michigan State on February 15, also a College GameDay game, in East Lansing. This is only the second time ever College GameDay game has visited a rematch in the same season, after last year’s Duke-Virginia game.

It’s also Maryland’s second-ever time hosting the broadcast, with the last game coming in 2005. It’s the fourth time they’ve been involved on a College GameDay broadcast, the third of which comes against the Spartans.

As enthusiastic as fans are, head coach Mark Turgeon and his players are equally excited.

"We are thrilled to have been selected to host ESPN College GameDay next week," Turgeon stated in a press release. "It will be an incredible day for our program, fans and community. We can't wait to show Rece, Jay, Seth, LaPhonso and the rest of the crew what College Park is all about!"

The game against the Spartans was already big for Maryland’s Big Ten championship chances, and the matchup has been sold out for weeks.

Now, it’s one of the biggest games in College Park in more than a decade.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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