Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2004

Sather steps down as Rangers coach

GREENBURGH, N.Y. The losing, the chants and the lack of effort from the New York Rangers convinced Glen Sather it was time to start making changes beginning with himself.

Sather stepped down Wednesday as coach of the Rangers, staying on as president and general manager and signaling that more changes lie ahead as the March 9 trading deadline nears.

''There isn't anyone in the organization that has a no-trade in his contract, so I think when we get down to that stage we'll make some decisions,'' Sather said.

''We're going to spend the next couple weeks evaluating where we're going to go and how we're going to get to where we decide to go. When the deadline comes around, you'll probably have an idea.''

New York likely will miss the playoffs for a seventh straight season despite the highest payroll in the NHL. Brian Leetch, Bobby Holik and Andrei Kovalev are among the Rangers with the most trade value, and Eric Lindros and Mark Messier are approaching the end of their contracts if not their careers.

Milwaukee's T.J. Ford out two to three weeks

MILWAUKEE Milwaukee point guard T.J. Ford is expected to miss two to three weeks because of a bruised spinal cord.

Ford was carried off the court on a stretcher after falling hard during the fourth quarter Tuesday night against Minnesota.

The rookie spent the night at St. Luke's Medical Center. Further evaluation, including an MRI, found Ford sustained a mild bruise, the Bucks said Wednesday.

Ford is expected to make a full recovery. He was averaging 27 minutes and seven points per game. Before Ford's freshman season at Texas began in the fall of 2001, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the openings of the vertebra the spinal cord runs through. After consulting with doctors, Ford decided against surgery to fix the problem, and tests later showed that the condition had improved.

Ford was the eighth pick in the draft last summer after leading Texas as a sophomore to its first appearance in the NCAA Final Four in 56 years.

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