National Sports Briefs
CHAPEL HILL ó North Carolina swingman Marcus Ginyard was sidelined for Monday night’s game against Rutgers with a sprained right ankle.
The school said the fifth-year senior was hurt on a drive to the basket during Saturday’s practice. He is considered doubtful for the ninth-ranked Tar Heels against Albany on Wednesday night.
Ginyard is the team’s third-leading scorer at 11 points per game. He didn’t play against Presbyterian on Dec. 12 because of a bruised left foot.
– GREENSBORO ó Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez and Miami’s Durand Scott are the ACC’s players of the week.
Vasquez averaged 26.5 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in victories against Winston-Salem State and Florida Atlantic. He won the award for the fifth time in his career.
– NEW YORK ó It usually isn’t big news when a team from the Big Ten moves into The Associated Press’ college basketball poll. It is when that team is Northwestern.
The Wildcats moved into the poll on Monday at No. 25, their first appearance in the rankings since January 1969, when it was still just a Top 20.
With Kansas again a runaway No. 1, as it has been since the preseason poll, the top eight teams remained the same for the third straight week.
North Carolina and Connecticut both moved up a spot to round out the top 10.
NEW YORK ó Benched New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Monday after his agent made a trade request.
Robinson has not played in the Knicks’ last 12 games. A two-time winner of the All-Star slam dunk contest, he has played in only 12 games this season and is averaging 11 points.
Agent Aaron Goodwin recently told reporters he’d asked the Knicks to move Robinson to another team. Robinson was fined for statements detrimental to the NBA.
LAS VEGAS ó The head of the Nevada boxing commission ordered Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to submit to urine tests Monday as a way of trying to break the impasse that has threatened to derail their proposed March 13 megafight.
Pacquiao and Mayweather must submit to the tests within 48 hours or face possible fines or suspension by the Nevada Athletic commission.
“That at least starts the ball rolling,” said Keith Kizer, the commission’s executive director.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ó For all of Terrell Owens’ self-promoting bluster, highlight reel catches and eye-popping numbers, the one topic that doesn’t interest the Bills receiver is whether he will one day land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Dude,” T.O. likes to say, “that’s not what I play for.”
Now that Owens achieved a significant milestone in his 14th NFL season by becoming the sixth player to reach 1,000 catches in a 31-3 loss at Atlanta on Sunday, it’s as good a time as any to start the discussion.
Hall of fame defensive back Ronnie Lott thinks Owens belongs.
“He’s done some of the things that hall of famers have done,” Lott said, referring to Owens’ statistics, consistency and ability to perform in the clutch. Lott particularly noted T.O.’s 122 yards receiving while coming off ankle surgery in Philadelphia’s loss to New England in the 2005 Super Bowl.
– ASHBURN, Va. ó The group that monitors the Rooney Rule confirms the Washington Redskins have interviewed one of the team’s assistants for the head coaching position.
Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten said Monday that secondary coach Jerry Gray interviewed with owner Dan Snyder for the job currently held by Jim Zorn.
Wooten said the interview satisfies the Rooney Rule that requires teams to talk to a minority candidate when filling a head coaching position. Wooten said it didn’t matter that the job is not yet vacant.
The news reaffirms the expectation Snyder will fire Zorn next week.- BEREA, Ohio ó New Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren has not decided if coach Eric Mangini will be back next season.
Holmgren, who signed a five-year contract to try and fix the Browns, said he will wait until he arrives in Cleveland next week before making any changes. Holmgren plans to meet with Mangini after the Browns (4-11) complete their season. He said it would not be fair to discuss Mangini’s status with one game left.
BOSTON ó It had barely been a week since the Boston Red Sox picked up John Lackey and lay claim to the paper crown for best rotation in baseball, when the New York Yankees predictably struck back, adding Javier Vasquez to an already strong rotation and setting up what promises to be a year-long battle for rotation supremacy in the American League East.
Big offense is as much a part of Yankee-Red Sox lore as are monsters and monuments, and their offenses are still potent. But in 2010, it’s the pitching that should define their annual dogfight. And when it comes down to that pitching, adding Vasquez to the back end of the New York rotation may give the Yankees a tiny edge in this arms race.
Comparing projected pitching staffs of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Vasquez, and potential fifth starter Phil Hughes versus a Boston rotation of Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka is like comparing a BMW to a Mercedes: you can’t go wrong either way.
– NEW YORK ó The New York Mets have signed right-hander Kelvim Escobar to a one-year contract.
The team announced the deal on Monday. He was expected to get $1.25 million.
Escobar, an 18-game winner in 2007, missed nearly all of the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels because of shoulder trouble. If healthy, he would likely work out of the bullpen for the Mets, who are looking for setup help for All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez.