TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs because of leukemia
ATLANTA — TNT analyst Craig Sager will miss the NBA playoffs as he undergoes treatment for leukemia.
A sideline reporter famous for his brightly colored suits, Sager’s sense of humor was intact in a statement released by Turner Sports on Friday.
Sager describes the postseason as “my favorite time of year - city to city, round by round, 40 games in 40 nights.” He says that “a dramatic turn has matched me with acute myeloid leukemia. From the sidelines to being sidelined, 40 veins and 40 electrolytes.”
Sager jokes about the often-terse in-game interviews with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: “Too bad, I had some probing questions for Pop.”
Source: Memphis G Calathes suspended for 20 games
A person familiar with the decision says Memphis Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes has been suspended for 20 games for violating the NBA’s drug policy.
The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the NBA has not announced the punishment, says Calathes will miss Memphis’ first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City.
Yahoo Sports was the first to report the suspension.
Calathes, a 25-year-old rookie reserve, averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 71 games this season.
The Grizzlies take on the Thunder in Game 1 today in Oklahoma City.
Choi leads at suspended Heritage
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — K.J. Choi’s early tee time and quick start moved him to the top of the rain-delayed RBC Heritage on Friday.
Choi shot a 67 to get to 5-under 137, one stroke ahead of Robert Allenby and two in front of a group led by former world No. 1 Luke Donald as the second round was suspended because of heavy storms.
Allenby was among 65 players still on the course when the rain hit Harbour Town Golf Links. Officials delayed the round shortly before 3 p.m. and then sent everyone home after waiting through about 90 minutes of steady, heavy rain.
Allenby has 13 holes to finish when play resumes today.
Donald shot a 69 and joined Billy Hurley III (69) and first-round tri-leader Scott Langley (73) in the clubhouse two shots behind Choi. Bo Van Pelt and Ben Martin were also at 3 under early in their rounds.
Hornets buzz about Malaysian Open
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Lee Westwood jumped out to a four-shot lead and Pablo Larrazabal jumped into a water hazard to escape hornets during the second round of the Malaysian Open.
Westwood moved closer to ending a two-year winless drought by adding a 6-under 66 to his opening round of 65 at Kuala Lumpur Country Club.
However, the action was overshadowed by Larrazabal needing on-course medical attention after being attacked by hornets at the 14th hole, the fifth of his round.
“They were three times the size of bees,” he said. “They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake.
“I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped in the water. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I’ve never been so scared.”
Incredibly, he birdied the 14th hole en route to a round of 68 and a share of 25th place at 2 under.
Jimenez sets record at Gwinnett
DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez made a dramatic Champions Tour debut, setting a tournament record with a first-round 65 in the soggy Greater Gwinnett Championship.
Jimenez, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Masters, overcame constant rain and chilly temperatures at TPC Sugarloaf. He shot a 6-under 30 on his first nine holes, including an eagle on No. 18. He reached 7 under with a birdie on No. 2 and closed with seven straight pars.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer, Steve Pate and Kenny Perry each shot a 68.
Fred Couples shot a 69, including a double bogey on No. 9, his finishing hole. Jeff Sluman also shot a 69.
Though light rain began soon after the round began and became more intense in the afternoon, there was no delay.
Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
MONACO — Rafael Nadal lost to Spanish compatriot David Ferrer 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the quarterfinals on Friday, his earliest exit at the Monte Carlo Masters in 11 years.
While he beat Nadal just last year, Ferrer hadn’t defeated Nadal on clay since 2004.
A day after becoming the 11th man in the Open era to reach 300 wins on clay, Nadal committed 44 unforced errors and was broken four times in the face of Ferrer’s relentless attack. Ferrer lost his own serve three times in the 2-hour, 13-minute match.
Nadal won eight consecutive Monte Carlo titles from 2005-12 before he lost last year’s final to Novak Djokovic.
Meanwhile, Stanislas Wawrinka reached his first semifinals since winning the Australian Open after beating eighth-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 7-6 (5), 6-2.
The third-seeded Wawrinka reached the semis five years ago, losing to Novak Djokovic. He faces sixth-seeded Ferrer next.
“I know I am supposed to be among the favorites, but every time I play a match I am in the state of mind of a challenger who is trying to win an additional match,” said Wawrinka, who went out in the third round of Masters events at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.
He did not face a single break point and broke the Canadian twice in the second set.
“I was really focused on my serve to be really aggressive from the first shot, to make him move, to make him work every ball,” Wawrinka said. “I just feel strong from the baseline. I feel good physically. I know that on clay courts, if I play my best tennis, I can beat those guys.”
Raonic missed chances when he led 3-0 and 5-3 in the tiebreaker.
Djokovic, the defending champion, was in action against Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, while fourth-seeded Roger Federer was to play No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
By wire sources