National briefs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2011

Associated Press
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó The NFLís goal to be the first major professional sports league to implement testing for human growth hormone appears a long way from coming to fruition.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday that players have serious questions about the safety and reliability of the test. He said the World Anti-Doping Agency has not turned over the information the playersí association has requested and will not agree to the test until that time.
ěThe one thing that we donít know is what that population test looks like,î Smith told The Associated Press after addressing students during a sports law symposium at Santa Clara University. ěWho was included in that study? What were the ratio levels?
ěWere they tested, or was that population tested in conditions or similar situations that would mirror professional football athletes? I donít know. And thatís information that they (WADA) refuse to turn over.î
NEW YORK ó NBA Commissioner David Stern, union president Derek Fisher and their top advisers are spending more time talking about a new labor deal.
Next week, theyíll find out if they can make progress in a bigger group.
With negotiations at what Stern said is ěgetting to be an important time,î the two sides met for the second consecutive day on Thursday, again for about 51/2 hours. Theyíll return to the bargaining table Tuesday, this time with more players and owners, to try and find a way to end the leagueís lockout and save the 2011-12 season.
Though Stern and leaders from the playersí association have said they like working in small numbers, the commissioner said they think itís ěa good idea to have larger group meetings at this point.î
Fisher, a guard for the Lakers, agreed.
ěAt some point, before you can try and make any attempt at any large progress, you have to involve all the respective members that are ultimately going to make the decisions, so we felt it was best to try to do that at this time and Tuesday weíll give (it) a shot,î he said.
Stern said there was nothing yet to show the larger groups, which would include members of the ownersí labor relations committee and the unionís executive committee. The commissioner also would not offer any insight into what it meant that the number of attendees would be increasing, after all the meetings since the lockout began July 1 included just the leadership from each side.
NEW YORK ó The U.S. Open is delaying its menís final until Monday for the fourth consecutive year.
The U.S. Tennis Association announced Thursday that, because of rain this week, the menís championship match will be Monday at 4 p.m. EDT ó 24 hours later than originally planned.
The womenís final was shifted from Saturday night to Sunday at 4 p.m.
The menís semifinals will stay in their usual spot Saturday, but now the finalists will get Sunday off. Before the changes, one of the menís finalists faced the prospect of playing four best-of-five-set matches in four days, back-to-back-to-back-to-back, something defending champion Rafael Nadal called ěnot fair.î
RICHMOND, Va. ó Danica Patrick thinks it would be nice if she got her NASCAR Sprint Cup career started at the Daytona 500.
The IndyCar star, who is moving to NASCAR full time next season, will run a limited Cup schedule in a car owned by Tony Stewart next year. She will mostly race at tracks where Stewart expects her to struggle, which makes Daytona even more attractive to her.
ěI think it would be a good start,î she told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. ěIt would be nice if the Sprint Cup debut was at a track where I have the opportunity to finish well, especially given the idea that weíre going to go to tracks that are going to be challenging and probably ones that Iíll do the worst at, but I donít know yet.î
PITTSBURGH ó Sidney Crosby remains confident heíll play hockey again.
When remains a mystery.
The Pittsburgh Penguins star said Wednesday heís continuing to recover from concussion-like symptoms that have sidelined him since last January, adding itís ělikelyî heíll return to play this season.
Yet the 24-year-old former MVP remains adamant he wonít don his familiar No. 87 jersey until heís back at full strength.
ěMaybe I can get by with 90 percent, maybe I couldnít but Iím not going to roll the dice with that,î he said.
Flanked by Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero and the two doctors who have carefully monitored his progress after sustaining blows to the head in consecutive games nine months ago, Crosby shot down speculation heís considering retirement.
ROGERS, Ark. ó Stacey Lewis still feels like she has plenty to prove, even now.
Even during a season in which sheís won her first major championship and has posted eight top-10 finishes, the former Arkansas golfer isnít content.
Lewis will have the chance to add to her growing resume when the LPGAís P&G NW Arkansas Championship tees off Friday. In order to do so, however, sheíll have to beat out a talented field that includes 13 of the top 15 players in the Rolex rankings.