National Sports Digest: Hester holds out
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. ó Devin Hester, who has electrified the NFL with 11 punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns in his first two seasons, skipped the Chicago Bears’ first training camp practice Wednesday in a holdout.
Hester, a two-time Pro Bowler, was placed on the Bears’ Reserve/Did Not Report list.
“I’m not coming,” Hester told the Chicago Tribune in a phone interview. “I have to make a statement. I showed by going to (organized team activities) that I was a team player. But then, I just felt like they weren’t taking it seriously that I wanted to get a new deal.”
GREENSBORO ó A homemade knife was found in the jail cell of the son of North Carolina State basketball coach Sidney Lowe, one week after he entered guilty pleas to robbery and kidnapping charges.
Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes said Wednesday that deputies found the shank inside the cell housing Sidney Lowe II during a random check Monday morning.
The younger Lowe was sentenced earlier this month to 15 months at the Guilford County Farm, a facility usually reserved for nonviolent offenders. But he remained in the county jail Wednesday.
The pleas stemmed from a robbery in Greensboro.
Barnes said Lowe pleaded guilty to a disciplinary charge. The sheriff said another infraction could lead to disciplinary measures, including loss of privileges.
CHARLOTTE ó NASCAR tried to even out the competition in the Nationwide Series on Wednesday by ordering all teams using Toyota motors to squeeze down their horsepower before this weekend’s race in Indianapolis.
Toyota has won 14 of 21 races this season in the Nationwide Series, and all but one came in a Camry fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing. The exception was JGR driver Kyle Busch’s victory at Charlotte. NASCAR ordered all the Toyota motors to use a smaller spacer that will knock down 15 horsepower in the motors.
Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development, said he was “extremely disappointed” and found no justification for NASCAR’s decision, arguing the Nationwide teams have been successful this season because of hard work and not technical advantage.
“Despite this setback, we will continue to work diligently to keep our Nationwide teams competitive,” White said. “Our hope remains that a Toyota team or driver will be rewarded with a championship at the conclusion of this year.”
LOS ANGELES ó Jason Hart is returning to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers acquired the 30-year-old local product from the Utah Jazz on Wednesday in exchange for Brevin Knight in a swap of point guards.
The 32-year-old Knight, who joined the Clippers as a free agent in August, averaged 4.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists and 22.6 minutes in 74 games last season. He finished second in the NBA with a 4.62-1 assists-to-turnover ratio. He has also played for the Charlotte Bobcats.
– MINNEAPOLIS ó Sebastian Telfair signed his new contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, a two-year deal that includes a player option for a third season.
The Timberwolves had declined to extend Telfair the one-year, $3.5 million qualifying offer for which he was eligible, making him an unrestricted free agent.
TOUR de FORCE
ALPE D’HUEZ, France ó Carlos Sastre of Spain has won the 17th stage of the Tour de France, the hardest ride this year up three devastating Alpine climbs, to take the overall lead from teammate Frank Schleck.
WASHINGTON ó Michelle Kwan will be among seven members of the presidential delegation to the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
President George W. Bush announced the delegation, to be headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The president listed Kwan, a two-time figure skating medalist at the Winter Olympics who has made several trips to China on behalf of the U.S. government as a diplomacy envoy.
LAS VEGAS ó U.S. forward LeBron James likely will miss Friday’s exhibition against Canada as he recovers from a mild right ankle sprain.
James shot baskets on the sidelines but was held out of a scrimmage at Valley High School on Wednesday.”If the gold medal game was tomorrow, he’d play,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “But we’re not playing the gold medal game, or a medal round game right now. So we would rather be cautious right now.”