Sports Briefs: Muamba’s condition no longer critical

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LONDON — English soccer player Fabrice Muamba began breathing on his own and responding to family members Monday, showing significant signs of recovery two days after going into cardiac arrest during a match.

The 23-year-old Bolton midfielder collapsed on the field just before halftime at Tottenham on Saturday. His heart started beating on its own again only later in the hospital.

For two days, amid an outpouring of global support, Muamba remained in critical condition in intensive care in a heart attack unit, and his long-term prognosis was uncertain.

But the Congo-born player made progress throughout Monday, with medics no longer describing his condition as “critical” by the evening.

PRO BASKETBALL

Bobcats’ Maggette out with injured back

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bobcats forward Corey Maggette sat out Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers with a back injury.

Maggette, Charlotte’s leading scorer this season at 15.8 points per game, injured his back diving for a ball during Saturday’s win over Toronto. Coach Paul Silas says he’s optimistic Maggette will be back in action Friday night against Milwaukee Bucks. Reggie Williams, averaging 8.6 points, started in place of Maggette.

c The Houston Rockets waived point guard Derek Fisher, less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston picked up a 2012 first-round pick from the Lakers and sent Jordan Hill to L.A. in the deal. The Rockets negotiated a buyout of Fisher’s contract, due to expire this season.

c Forward J.J. Hickson was waived by Sacramento. The Kings acquired Hickson last June from Cleveland, giving the Cavaliers forward Omri Casspi and a conditional future first-round draft pick.

Hickson played 35 games for Sacramento, averaging 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes.

BASEBALL

Judge urged to bar some Clemens lawyers’ arguments

Federal prosecutors in the Roger Clemens perjury trial urged the judge Monday to bar Clemens’ lawyers from arguments they say will encourage jurors to nullify the law and acquit regardless of the evidence.

In a pre-trial motion, prosecutors objected to several lines of argument Clemens’ lawyers made at the opening of last summer’s trial, including asking jurors to put themselves in the former pitcher’s shoes, maintaining that the government was wasting money on the prosecution and referring to possible penalties Clemens faces.

Mets owners reach deal with trustee in Madoff case

NEW YORK — The New York Mets’ owners stabilized the club’s financial future in a deal with a trustee for Bernard Madoff’s fraud victims that requires them to pay millions less than they might have.

Mets CEO Fred Wilpon and team President Saul Katz, co-majority owners, emerged smiling from a Manhattan federal courthouse after a judge announced the agreement, which makes it likely they’ll pay much less than the agreed-upon $162 million, if any at all; guarantees they will owe nothing until the end of four years; and averts a high-profile civil trial.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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