National sports briefs: Orlando’s Howard suspended for tonight’s game against 76ers
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Dwight Howard has been suspended for tonight’s Game 6 of the Orlando Magic’s playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The NBA announced that Howard will be suspended for his elbow on Sixers center Samuel Dalembert in Game 5 on Tuesday.
Replays showed Howard’s elbow hit Dalembert above the shoulders. Howard drew a technical foul for the hit.
“The Dwight Howard suspension tells you the players are capable of hurting each other,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “We’re there to protect the players. If you throw a punch, you’re gone. If you throw an elbow above the shoulder, you’re gone. If you come off the bench, you’re gone.”
Orlando will also be without starting guard Courtney Lee, who suffered a fractured sinus after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from Howard later in the quarter.
* WALTHAM, Mass. ó The NBA said Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo won’t be penalized for his hard foul on Chicago’s Brad Miller in the closing seconds of Game 5. Stern said that no flagrant foul call was the right call.
* AUBURN HILLS, Mich. ó Michael Curry is coming back as Detroit’s coach, and Will Bynum had the Pistons pick up his option.
* EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Despite missing the playoffs for two straight years, Rod Thorn said Lawrence Frank will be returning for a sixth full season as coach.
PITTSBURGH ó Santonio Holmes was arraigned on a misdemeanor marijuana charge stemming from a traffic stop. Holmes’ attorney, Robert DelGreco Jr., said he planned to challenge the constitutionality of the stop.
Police said they found three marijuana-filled cigars in Holmes’ car when he was pulled over Oct. 23. He was stopped because his car was similar to one they were looking for in a drug sting.
Holmes was cooperative and alerted officers to the drugs, police said. DelGreco has characterized the charge “as low as a grade a misdemeanor you can get.” The penalty is up to 30 days probation and a $500 fine, he said.
* NEW ORLEANS ó The Saints agreed to a lease extension that will keep the team playing in an improved Louisiana Superdome through the 2025 season.
* METAIRIE, La. ó The New Saints have released defensive tackle Hollis Thomas.
* EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Cornerback Brandon Sumrall was awarded to the New York Giants on waivers from Indianapolis.
* INDIANAPOLIS ó The Colts re-signed linebacker Freddy Keiaho.
* FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. ó Atlanta has signed former Georgia running back Verron Haynes.
* ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó Denver released fullback Andrew Pinnock.
* JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ó The Jaguars released offensive tackle Charles Spencer.
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. ó A few fans wore surgical masks and hand sanitizers were installed around Toyota Park as thousands watched the Chicago Fire play Club America of Mexico in an exhibition game.
* MEXICO CITY ó The Mexican Football Federation says all pro soccer games in Mexico this weekend will be played without fans in an effort to slow the spread of swine flu.
* PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ó The Nationwide Tour has postponed the Mexico Open golf tournament scheduled for May 21-24 because of the swine flu outbreak.
* AUSTIN, Texas ó Texas officials postponed all public high school athletic and academic competitions until May 11 because of the swine flu outbreak.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. ó Indiana receiver Kellen Lewis has been dismissed from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
KINGSTON, Jamaica ó Sprinter Usain Bolt was in a car crash in Jamaica, but police and his manager said he was not seriously injured.
LONDON ó The gold medalist in the 1,500 meters and a silver winner in cycling are among six athletes from the Beijing Games nabbed for blood doping.
National sports bodies in Bahrain and Italy confirmed that 1,500-meter champion Rashid Ramzi and road race medalist Davide Rebellin turned up positive for the new blood-boosting drug CERA in retests of their samples. Dominican women’s weightlifter Yudelquis Contreras and prominent German cyclist Stephan Schumacher were among the others.
A person with knowledge of the results told The AP that Greek race walker Athanasia Tsoumeleka and Croatian 800-meter runner Vanja Perisic also tested positive.
If backup “B” samples also come back positive, the athletes face being disqualified, stripped of medals and banned from the next Olympics.
ROME ó Andy Murray lost for only the fourth time this year, upset by qualifier Juan Monaco 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the Rome Masters.
Rafael Nadal won 6-2, 6-3 over Andreas Seppi, and Roger Federer beat Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-4.