- - Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PRO BASKETBALL

Billups,, 35, vows return from season-ending injury

CLEVELANDChauncey Billups will only watch as the Clippers continue their promising season without him.

Billups tore his Achilles tendon, prematurely ending his first season with Los Angeles and 15th in the NBA. He won’t let it be his last.

“My career is definitely not over,” the 35-year-old said. “I’m not going to crawl out of this league. I’m going to go out on my own two feet. I will be back.”

Billups‘ season came to a stunning end in Orlando on Monday night, when he crumpled to the floor without being touched. After missing a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, Billups took one step toward the loose ball when his leg buckled.

BASEBALL

Reds sign outfielder Ludwick and left-hander Francis

CINCINNATI — The Reds have made a couple of moves to improve their depth, signing outfielder Ryan Ludwick to a one-year contract and left-handed starter Jeff Francis to a minor league deal.

Ludwick, 33, batted .237 last season in 139 games with the Padres and Pirates, hitting 13 homers with 75 RBI. Ludwick also has played for the Rangers, Indians and Cardinals.

Francis, 31, has struggled since he missed the 2009 season because of shoulder surgery. Last season, he was 6-16 for Kansas City with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts.

HOCKEY

Red Wings and Maple Leafs set for 2013 Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A person familiar with the NHL’s plan said the Detroit Red Wings will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Winter Classic. The league s not expected to announce the lineup until Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, the University of Michigan Board of Regents authorized the athletics department to seek a contract with the NHL that would allow the league to hold next year’s showcase at Michigan Stadium. The NHL has offered to pay up to $3 million for a license to use the iconic college football stadium, according to the recommendation approved by the board.

SOCCER

Capello, England’s national coach, abruptly steps down

LONDON — Fabio Capello quit as England’s national team coach on Wednesday just four months before the European Championship, angry the Football Association removed John Terry as captain.

The Italian, whose contract was due to expire after Euro 2012, walked out on the job after four years during an hourlong meeting with FA chairman David Bernstein and general secretary Alex Horne at Wembley Stadium.

Bernstein publicly undermined Capello last week by not consulting him before taking the captain’s armband from Terry, who is facing a racism trial. Capello criticized the move on Italian television, insisting it was “absolutely” the wrong decision.

From wire dispatches and staff reports