- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2012

PRO BASKETBALL

Spurs’ Ford retires after latest scare involving spine

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Spurs point guard T.J. Ford abruptly retired Monday following the latest scare to his surgically repaired spine that once sideline him for an entire NBA season and hampered the dazzling promise that made him a college star.

Ford, 28, told reporters that lying motionless March 7 on the court against the New York Knicks wasn’t the first time it had happened, and that he decided to walk away while he still had a chance.

He was playing just his 14th game in an injury-prone season when Knicks guard Baron Davis elbowed him in the back, knocking him to the ground. Ford didn’t move for several minutes and wobbled while being helped off the court.

• New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams missed Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks with a strained right calf. Williams aggravated the calf injury in a win over Charlotte on Friday and sat out Saturday’s game against the Houston Rockets.

Williams is averaging 22.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 8.1 assists. Jordan Farmar replaced him in the starting lineup for the second straight game.

• Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao’s broken right wrist will not be re-examined by doctors until next week. Varejao has been out since Feb. 10, when he broke his wrist during a game against Milwaukee. The Cavs expected Varejao, one of the NBA’s top rebounders, to miss from four to six weeks and were initially optimistic he would return sooner.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

North Carolina punished over benefits, academic fraud

The NCAA infractions committee has hit North Carolina’s football program with a one-year postseason ban, a reduction of 15 scholarships and three years of probation following an investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct.

In a ruling Monday, the committee said the school was responsible for multiple violations, including academic fraud and a failure to monitor its football program. It also issued a three-year show-cause penalty for former assistant coach John Blake, who had received personal loans from an NFL agent.

HORSE RACING

Ailing leg to keep ‘Kingdom’ out of Dubai World Cup

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom has developed lameness in his left hind leg and won’t run in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.

Trainer Graham Motion wrote on his Twitter feed that Animal Kingdom was sore after a weekend workout at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach. Tests were being done Monday to determine the severity of the injury. It’s the same leg Animal Kingdom injured after finishing sixth in the Belmont Stakes last year.

BASEBALL

Knee surgery to sideline Mets’ Burdyk 4-6 weeks

LAKELAND, Fla. — New York Mets reliever Tim Byrdak will have surgery Tuesday to fix a tear in his left knee and will be miss four to six weeks, while star third baseman David Wright has gotten a cortisone shot for his ailing rib cage.

Byrdak was expected to be the Mets’ only left-hander in the bullpen when the season started. He was 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA in 72 games last season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Second starting cornerback for Georgia is arrested

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia cornerback Branden Smith was arrested and charged with marijuana possession late Sunday, the third starter from last year’s team to be arrested in the offseason. Smith could be suspended for at least a one game, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said.

Another starting cornerback, Sanders Commings, was arrested on a domestic violence charge in Athens on Jan. 21. Coach Mark Richt suspended Commings for the first two games of the 2012 season.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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