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December 16, 2021
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December 16, 2021
AP Sports


Update on the latest sports


Jaguars fire Meyer after 13 games
UNDATED (AP) – Urban Meyer’s tumultuous NFL tenure as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars has ended after just 13 games – and two victories – when the team fired him early Thursday because of an accumulation of missteps.
Owner Shad Khan made the move hours after ex-Jaguars player Josh Lambo told a Florida newspaper Meyer kicked him during practice in August. It was the latest embarrassment for the three-time national championship-winning college coach who failed miserably to make the transition to the NFL.
Meyer joins Lou Holtz and Bobby Petrino as college coaches whose NFL careers flamed out in stunningly swift fashion.


In other NFL news:
– The Cleveland Browns’ growing COVID-19 concerns now include quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski. Both have tested positive and will likely miss Saturday’s game against the Raiders. Stefanski’s positive test was announced Wednesday by the team, which then put Mayfield, safety John Johnson III, nickel back Troy Hill, defensive tackle Malik McDowell and defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry was among eight players put on the list on Tuesday. As of now, the NFL said there are no discussions to move Saturday’s game.


– The league’s chief medical officer says the new coronavirus variant has been found among the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases within the league. Dr. Allen Sills said owners were told in meetings Wednesday that booster shots are the focus of efforts to minimize spread. Sills said the omicron variant is expected to become the dominant strain in the U.S.


– The Chiefs have added linebacker Willie Gay Jr. to the COVID-19 list, one day before they play the Chargers. The Chiefs placed wide receiver Josh Gordon on the list Monday and defensive tackle Chris Jones on it Tuesday. There is an outside chance Gordon or Jones could play if they return two negative tests 24 hours apart.


– Saints coach Sean Payton has missed the first practice of the week but the club says he tested negative for COVID-19. The Saints have not given many details on Payton’s health other than to say he was “under the weather” and working remotely as the club prepares to visit Tampa Bay on Sunday.


– The Rams have 16 players on their reserve/COVID-19 list after adding three more to the group Wednesday. Linebacker Justin Hollins and tight ends Johnny Mundt and Jared Pinkney were added one day after the Rams put nine players on the list following their 30-23 victory at Arizona on Monday night.


– The Titans designated outside linebacker Bud Dupree for return from injured reserve Wednesday. The move opens a 21-day window for the Titans to put Dupree back on their active roster.


– The 49ers have declined to activate edge rusher Dee Ford from injured reserve before a Wednesday deadline, sending him home to rest the lingering back injury that has limited him to seven games the past two seasons. Ford was one of the prized acquisitions for the 49ers when they traded a second-round pick to Kansas City to acquire the pass rusher in the 2019 offseason.


– Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is likely to miss his third straight game because of a neck injury. Coach Joe Judge said Wednesday the third-year quarterback still has not been cleared for contact and Mike Glennon will start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.


– Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold has returned to practice, although coach Matt Rhule (rool) said Monday that he plans to continue to play Cam Newton and P.J. Walker at quarterback against the Bills on Sunday. Darnold went on injured reserve Nov. 10 with a shoulder injury.


– The NFL has earned higher scores for racial and gender hiring in an annual diversity report, though team-level grades continue to lag behind the league office. Wednesday’s report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida assigned an overall B grade for the league, with a B-plus for racial hiring and a C-plus for gender hiring.


– Two members of Congress are asking the NFL to provide evidence of Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder’s interference with an investigation into sexual harassment and other improper conduct at the club. The latest request follows a report posted on The Washington Post’s website that said potential witnesses viewed actions by people working on Snyder’s behalf as attempts to interfere with the NFL’s investigation.


– The Munich city council has given its backing to a bid to host regular-season NFL games at the home of soccer club Bayern Munich. Three German cities are vying to become the league’s partner.


Bucks win without Greek Freak, Middleton
UNDATED (AP) – The Milwaukee Bucks were able to win on Wednesday without two of their top players.
The Bucks leaned on Jrue Holiday and had a 21-0 fourth-quarter run to beat the Pacers, 114-99. Holiday had 26 points and 14 assists for Milwaukee, which was tied before opening the fourth quarter on a 25-5 run. Pat Connaughton and Jordan Nwora each scoring eight points during the run and finished with 20 points apiece.
The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) and Khris Middleton. Antetokounmpo was placed in COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday and Middleton was out with a hyperextended left knee.


Checking out Wednesday’s other games:
– The Jazz are owners of an eight-game winning streak after Donovan Mitchell scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half of their 124-103 romp over the Clippers. Bojan (BOY’-ahn) Bogdanovic made six 3-pointers, scored 20 points and helped the Jazz shoot 53%. Jordan Clarkson scored 21 in the victory, while Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) added 20 with 17 rebounds.


– Gabe Vincent scored 26 points and hit a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter of the Heat’s 101-96 win over the 76ers. Duncan Robinson added 21 points and Kyle Lowry added 14 for the Heat, whose 10 available players included seven that were undrafted. Philadelphia center Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) had 17 points and 14 rebounds in his return after missing Monday’s 126-91 loss at Memphis due to right rib soreness.


– It’s now a five-game winning streak for the Cavaliers after their 124-89 rout of the Rockets. Darius Garland dropped in 21 points and Isaac Okoro added 20 in Cleveland’s largest margin of victory this season. Dean Wade scored 16 points for Cleveland, which led 84-39 midway through the third quarter and had 100 points entering the fourth.


– Desmond Bane had 23 points and the Grizzlies stretched their winning streak to four games with a 113-103 verdict over the Trail Blazers. Dillon Brooks added 22 points. Steven Adams had 10 points and 14 rebounds to help Memphis win for the ninth time in 10 games. Norman Powell had 25 points in Portland’s seventh straight loss.


– The Timberwolves beat the Nuggets for the first time in their last 13 meetings as Anthony Edwards made 10 3-pointers and scored 38 points in Minnesota’s 124-107 victory. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 32 points and D’Angelo Russell added 16 for the Wolves, who shot 23 for 48 from beyond the arc. Denver’s Nikola Jokic (nih-KOH’-lah YOH’-kihch) had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season and the 63rd of his career.


– Rookie Austin Reaves nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Lakers past the Mavericks, 107-104 in overtime. Reaves’ game-winner was his fifth from beyond the arc and the only bucket in OT scored by someone other than the team’s Big Three. LeBron James scored 24 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and Anthony Davis had 20 points and 12 rebounds for L.A.


– Gordon Hayward poured in a season-high 41 points and the Hornets never trailed in a 131-115 victory versus the Spurs. Hayward was 15 for 19 from the field and matched a season-high with five 3-pointers on six attempts. Cody Martin scored 21 points and Miles Bridges had 19 as Charlotte won for only the third time in its last nine games.


– Devonte’ Graham’s 61-foot heave at the buzzer gave the Pelicans a 113-110 win over the Thunder. The bucket came after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit an off-balance 30-footer to tie the score for Oklahoma City with 2.3 seconds remaining. Brandon Ingram scored 34 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Pelicans.


– Trae Young played through a minor neck injury to score 28 points in the Hawks’ first win in three games, 111-99 against the Magic. Young left for the locker room late in the third quarter after Cole Anthony hit him with a shoulder in the face on an offensive foul. John Collins had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which has won five straight on the road but owns a five-game skid at home.


– De’Aaron Fox scored 28 points and the short-handed Kings beat the Wizards, 119-105. Harrison Barnes delivered 15 of his 19 points in the final period, when he had a pair of three-point plays and a 3-pointer to help Sacramento end a three-game skid. Tristan Thompson and Buddy Hield (heeld) scored 15 points apiece as the Kings handed Washington its sixth loss in seven games.


NBA, players’ union may return to daily testing
UNDATED (AP) – The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are in the process of enhancing their health and safety protocols in response to rising coronavirus numbers around the league. That’s according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The person told The Associated Press that among the biggest changes would be a plan to return to daily testing for players and coaches, at least in the short term.


In other NBA news:
– Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols but was kept out of the lineup Wednesday against the Spurs. Its unclear if he will rejoin the team for its game Friday night in Portland. All five Charlotte players that were initially placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols earlier this month have now been cleared to return to action.


– Former Celtics player and executive Danny Ainge (aynj) is the new CEO of the Jazz. Ainge has also been named an alternate governor for the Jazz on the NBA’s Board of Governors. Ainge stepped down from the Celtics front office in June, just hours after they were eliminated from the postseason.


Wildcats, Trojans stay unbeaten
UNDATED (AP) – Eighth-ranked Arizona remains perfect following an impressive performance on offense.
The Wildcats moved to 10-0 by shooting 54% and scoring 32 points in the paint for a 101-76 win over Northern Colorado. Christian Koloko had 19 points and blocked four shots, while Kerr Kriisa also scored 19 points.
Arizona is off to its best start since winning its first 12 in 2014-15.


Also on the top-25 men’s basketball schedule:
– UCLA’s game against Alabama State was called off because of COVID-19 protocols. Some players from both teams were on the court when they were informed. Earlier in the day, UCLA said coach Mick Cronin would miss the game because of COVID-19 protocols.


– Tenth-ranked Southern California was a 66-61 winner over UC Irvine after trailing by 10 at one point. Chevez Goodwin scored 17 of his season-high 23 points in the second half and Isaiah Mobley chipped in 22 points and 12 rebounds for the 11-0 Trojans.


– Jerome Hunter scored 15 points and Colby Jones had 14 as Xavier rolled past Morehead State, 86-63.


Hawks outlast Caps in OT
UNDATED (AP) – The Chicago Blackhawks have posted one of their best victories of the season.
Caleb Jones scored his first goal of the season 81 seconds into overtime to complete the Hawks’ wild 5-4 win over Washington. After Alex Ovechkin notched his NHL record-tying 274th career power-play goal, Alex DeBrincat, Kurashev and Entwistle scored in a 34-second span of the second period.
The Caps picked up a point after Conor Sheary tied it with three seconds left in regulation.


Elsewhere on NHL ice:
– Kaapo Kakko (KAH’-poh KA’-koh) had two goals, including the game-winner with 2:18 left in the Rangers’ 3-2 verdict over the Coyotes. Mika Zibanejad (MEE’-kah) zih-BAN’-eh-jad) added a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who had dropped two straight and three of four. Chris Kreider tied a career high with three assists after entering the game with just four all season.


– Troy Terry scored his 18th goal and Derek Grant got one short-handed in the Ducks’ fourth victory in five games, 4-1 against the Kraken. Trevor Zegras and Sam Carrick also scored for the Pacific Division-leading Ducks, who spoiled expansion Seattle’s first appearance in Southern California with a one-sided win. Anthony Stolarz made 19 saves for Anaheim, which has scored 11 goals on the Kraken in two meetings this season.


AP source: NHL reintroducing enhanced COVID-19 restrictions
UNDATED (AP) – With the number of coronavirus cases and game postponements climbing, the NHL is reintroducing enhanced COVID-19 protocols that include daily testing and restrictions in a bid to limit a growing outbreak among players and staff. The enhanced protocols will be put into effect immediately and last through at least Jan. 7 according to a person with direct knowledge of discussions between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association. Hours earlier Ontario health officials unveiled rules that will reduce capacity at the home arenas of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors to 50% starting Saturday.
In all, more than 140 NHL players have been on the protocol list this season – including more than two dozen in the last two days. Boston and Nashville also put players and staff on the list Wednesday.
The NHL also canceled a fourth Flames game, Saturday’s home matchup against Columbus. Calgary currently has 16 players and coaches on the protocol list, including Johnny Gaudreau. The Hurricanes, Senators and Islanders have also had outbreaks that have forced game postponements, a total of 10 in all.


In other NHL news:
– The Blackhawks have settled a lawsuit by a former player who said he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach during the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup title run. After representatives for the Blackhawks and former first-round pick Kyle Beach met Wednesday with a mediator for the first time, they announced that the session had resulted in a confidential settlement.