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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó NASCAR made no major changes to the 2012 Sprint Cup Series schedule aside from flipping a few race dates and moving the start of the season back one week.
The Daytona 500 opens the season Feb. 26, one week later than usual. NASCAR had to schedule 38 races over 40 weeks because of the later start to the season.
Kansas Speedway had its race moved from June to April to accommodate a plan to pave the track.
Talladega Superspeedway’s race in April was moved to May, and it’s October date was pushed up earlier in the month so Kansas had more time for its paving project.
The first race at Dover was moved back to May after a few years of running in June.
Because of when July 4 falls, Kentucky Speedway’s date was moved up to the week before Daytona instead of the week after.
NASCAR didn’t release the Nationwide or Truck schedules.
NBA
ATLANTA ó A judge took the rare step of allowing former NBA player Javaris Crittenton, charged with murder in a drive-by shooting, to go free on bond after hearing friends and coaches testify that he was too focused on a comeback to squander his future on a revenge killing.
Magistrate Judge Karen Smith Woodson took the unusual step to grant him $230,000 bond over the objections of prosecutors, who said they feared Crittenton could threaten witnesses who implicated him in the Aug. 19 shooting death of 22-year-old Julian Jones in Atlanta.
Police said Crittenton was retaliating for being robbed of $55,000 worth of jewelry when Jones was mistakenly hit by gunfire while standing outside her house.
NEW YORK ó Regular-season games could be at stake when NBA owners and players meet this weekend.
And those might not be all that is lost, Commissioner David Stern warned, without real headway toward a new labor deal.
Talks between negotiators ended after two days Wednesday so they could return home before summoning their respective bargaining committees to New York for the most important stretch of the lockout. They will meet Friday and are prepared to talk through the weekend if progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement is being made.
OZZIE UPBEAT
MIAMI ó Ozzie Guillen tweeted that he was in town “ready to go” with the Florida Marlins, and the clubhouse buzz was all about the new manager.
One minor holdup: The Marlins had yet to confirm a deal, saving some suspense for the final day of the regular season Wednesday. But Guillen’s website eliminated much of the drama by leaking the news he has agreed to become the Marlins’ manager.
Florida manager Jack McKeon said Monday he planned to retire at the end of the season. Guillen announced his departure with the White Sox hours later, but said nothing about taking another job. The Marlins move into a new ballpark next spring.
COLLEGE HOOPS
TUCSON, Ariz. ó Arizona basketball player Kevin Parrom is back on campus in Tucson after being wounded in a shooting while visiting family in New York City.
Coach Sean Miller issued a statement saying Parrom, a 6-foot-6 junior swingman, returned Monday night. He is to return to classes and begin rehabilitation this week.
Parrom received gunshot wounds to his right knee and left hand in what police called a dispute at a residence in the Bronx about 1 a.m. on Saturday.
HEAD INJURIES
NUTLEY, N.J. ó The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be developing national guidelines for managing sports-related concussions for student athletes.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey announced that the CDC has agreed to adopt a key element of stalled legislation they sponsored which would have made such protocols mandatory.
Pascrell says 41 percent of student athletes who suffer concussions return to playing sports too soon, sometimes with serious or even fatal consequences.
The lawmakers say the CDC protocols will be ready by 2014.
TENNIS
TOKYO ó Kaia Kanepi upset top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open.
The 43rd-ranked Kanepi rallied from three games down in the third set and won the match when she broke the defending champion with a forehand down the line.

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