National Sports Briefs 3-29
PORTLAND, Ore. ó Injured center Greg Oden was reprimanded by the Portland Trail Blazers for playing in a pickup game at a neighborhood gym.
“We called him and we told him he can’t do that,” coach Nate McMillan said Friday.
Oden, the top pick in last year’s draft, is out for the season after microfracture surgery on his right knee. He said he played two games Wednesday night when he was at the fitness center with friends.
“I was going to play one, but I lost the first one,” the 7-footer said.
McMillan called Oden’s actions “pretty innocent,” but the coach wanted Oden to know he must avoid risky situations.
SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. ó Angela Stanford followed her Safeway International course record and career-best 10-under 62 on Thursday with a scrambling 3-under 69 on Friday.
– AVONDALE, La. ó Briny Baird shot a 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead over Peter Lonard in the Zurich Classic.
– PALM COAST, Fla. ó Lonnie Nielsen birdied six of his last 10 holes for a 6-under 66 and a one-stroke lead in the Champion Tour’s Ginn Championship.
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla.ó Defending champion Serena Williams and top-ranked Justine Henin had straight-sets wins Friday in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic went into a funk after being warned for taking too much time between points, then blew a third-set lead to lose his opening match to qualifier Kevin Anderson, a 6-foot-7 former NCAA doubles champion at Illinois.
– Henin received the WTA Tour player of the year award for the second time in her career. She won 10 of the 14 events she entered in 2007, including the French and U.S. Open, and she became the first woman to earn more than $5 million in prize money.
Lindsay Davenport won comeback player of the year.
CHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers have signed free-agent guard Milford Brown in another move intended to bolster their offensive line.
Brown started 15 games for St. Louis last year at both guard positions and right tackle. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Brown has appeared in 47 games with 43 starts over the past six seasons with Houston, Arizona and the Rams.
– KIRKLAND, Wash. ó The Seattle Seahawks have signed former Pro Bowl kicker Olindo Mare to a two-year contract to likely replace departed free agent Josh Brown.
CHICAGO ó The U.S. soccer team completed plans to play Argentina in an exhibition game June 8 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Americans won at 3-0 at Poland on Wednesday, giving them consecutive victories in Europe for the first time.