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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick said Monday his seat came loose in the Oct. 31 plane crash that left him with four broken ribs and a broken shoulder.
The Gulfstream G150 had brake problems upon landing at the Key West Airport in Florida. The private plane ran off the runway, and despite wearing his seat belt, Hendrick was still injured.
“My belt was on, and something came loose in the seat itself,” Hendrick said. “I hit the bulkhead and my wife. My chest and head went into the seat in front of me, and that’s where I (broke) my ribs and I had a concussion.”
Hendrick was hospitalized for a week in North Carolina after the accident. His wife, Linda, sustained minor cuts and bruises in the crash, but the two pilots were not injured.
The plane was co-owned by Hendrick and five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, and was primarily used to shuttle Johnson and his family to and from races.
Hendrick spent three weeks after the accident sleeping in a chair, and only recently has been able to sleep in a bed. He’s still undergoing daily therapy sessions, and won’t travel to Las Vegas for this week’s season-ending awards ceremony.
Hendrick also missed the final three races of the season, and wasn’t on hand when Tony Stewart officially ended Johnson’s five-year reign.
“Trying to sleep and move and getting therapy takes most of the day,” he said. “My wife is doing good. She busted her leg up, but I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I don’t bounce back quite as quick.
“I’m just going to probably take it easy for a few more weeks and continue to do my therapy.”
NBA
MIAMI ó NBA arenas are about to be unlocked.
Teams have been informed that they may open their doors to players on Thursday, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.
Teams have been told they may host “voluntary player workouts” and physicals in advance of the planned Dec. 9 opening of training camps.
In addition, agents may begin talking to teams again at 9 a.m. Wednesday, though deals cannot yet be offered. Deals cannot be signed before Dec. 9.
It’s the first time since the lockout began July 1 that players have been permitted to use team training facilities. The NBA and its players reached a tentative agreement to end the lockout early Saturday morning.
BASEBALL
BOSTON ó The Boston Red Sox have picked Bobby Valentine to be their next manager and the sides were working to complete a contract.
Several media outlets in Boston, citing anonymous sources, reported earlier in the evening that Valentine would be the team’s new manager.
“He’s got it. I just spoke to him a little while ago,” Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, who managed Valentine in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in a telephone interview with the AP.
ARLINGTON, Texas ó The Rangers are erecting a statue of Shannon Stone, the Texas firefighter who died after falling over an outfield railing at a game in July.
The 39-year-old Stone, a Brownwood Fire Department firefighter, had taken his 6-year-old son Cooper to the ballpark in hopes of catching a ball. The Rangers said the life-size statue will be created by sculptor Bruce Greene and will be placed outside the home plate gate at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
TENNIS
SEVILLE, Spain ó Argentina’s players are putting the pressure firmly on Spain by calling the host the favorite to win the Davis Cup.
David Nalbandian says the four-time champions “are favored over us and have more pressure” to win the final. It begins on Friday on the clay at Seville’s Olympic Stadium.
Spain, led by second-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 5 David Ferrer, are vying for a third title in four seasons. Spain hasn’t lost on home soil since 1999, a run of 20 events.

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