Sports Briefs

Posted: Monday, October 14, 2002

Report: Piniella could be released from contract

SEATTLE -- Seattle manager Lou Piniella will be released from the final year of his contract if he does not want to return to the Mariners, The New York Times reported Sunday.

A baseball official told the newspaper the Mariners would release Piniella from his $6.8 million contract if he made the request.

The Seattle Times reported Saturday night that Piniella has asked out of the final year of his contract.

Piniella made the formal request Friday during a meeting in Tampa, Fla., with three Seattle team officials, including CEO Howard Lincoln.

''I asked them if I could be allowed to get closer to home,'' Piniella told The Seattle Times. ''We had an amicable meeting, as amicable as amicable can be. We talked for over an hour. Now they're going to make a decision.''

There was no immediate word Sunday of any change in Piniella's situation.

OneWorld tops Oracle, ends first round undefeated

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- OneWorld of Seattle finished the first round of the America's Cup challenger series unbeaten, defeating Oracle of San Francisco by 40 seconds in a makeup race Monday.

OneWorld led around all marks on a course shortened from 18.5 to 12.5 nautical miles, sending Oracle to its third consecutive loss.

The showdown was marked by a prestart that was the roughest of 10 days of challenger racing, with the yachts whirling about each other and coming within inches of a collision.

The race featured a rivalry between Larry Ellison, the software mogul who leads the Oracle syndicate, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who heads the Seattle syndicate with Craig McCaw.

OneWorld was the only team with eight wins from eight races in the round-robin competition but finished even with Switzerland's Team Alinghi, which had seven wins from eight starts. The Seattle team lost a point for a rules infraction before racing began.

McDyess out indefinitely with fractured kneecap

NEW YORK -- In another damaging blow to the New York Knicks, Antonio McDyess has a fractured kneecap that will sideline him indefinitely.

The Knicks announced the news Sunday, a day after McDyess went down clutching his left knee with 1:55 remaining in a preseason loss to the Phoenix Suns. The injury was initially diagnosed as a hyperextension, but an MRI exam revealed the fracture.

''Naturally, he's totally disappointed and somewhat devastated,'' coach Don Chaney said.

In three preseason games, the 6-9 forward averaged 17.7 and 13.0 rebounds.

The injury happened to the same knee that was operated on last season, sidelining McDyess for all but 10 games. Knicks president Scott Layden said McDyess will likely have surgery, and the only time frame he provided was that McDyess will be out ''for an extended period.''

He is the second Knicks starter to be sidelined by an injury. Latrell Sprewell arrived for training camp with a broken hand, and the Knicks fined him $250,000 and told him to stay away from the team for failing to report the injury in a timely manner.

Sprewell is not expected to return until mid-November at the earliest, and there's no telling when he might eventually team up with McDyess.

McDyess will get a second opinion, and a course of treatment will then be determined. Layden said there was no damage to the patella tendon that was repaired a year ago.

''Our medical staff feels this is not a career-threatening injury,'' Layden said.

The injury happened suddenly in the closing minutes of an otherwise meaningless game. After dunking a miss by teammate Howard Eisley, McDyess fell to the floor clutching his left knee.

McDyess was able to limp off the court under his own power, slamming the scorer's table with his hand as he headed to the locker room.

It was not clear precisely how McDyess sustained the injury, although Knicks team Dr. Norman Scott believes he hurt the knee on his takeoff prior to dunking, team spokesman Jonathan Supranowitz said.

Because the game was not televised, the only replays available came from in-house cameras.

''It's very hard to determine on the tape whether he came down hard on it or banged it,'' coach Don Chaney said.

McDyess had 23 points and 15 rebounds before going down, his third straight solid performance for the team that acquired him from Denver in a five-player trade on draft night.

Coach Don Chaney explained that he kept some of his starters in the game late into the fourth quarter because the Suns were using an eight-man rotation, sticking with their best players.

''We felt that he had already endured a week of two-a-days, and I have no reservations about putting him in the game at that time,'' Chaney said.

Speaking with reporters in a hallway before going to a hospital for the MRI, McDyess said he was hoping that the injury was not serious. Exactly one year earlier, McDyess had surgery on the same knee to repair the patella tendon.

''I don't want to go through this again if it's anything major,'' McDyess said. ''I just can't do that. I'm just hoping it's something minor, I get it treated and I'm back soon.''

The Knicks have had more than their share of injuries since the end of last season. First-round draft pick Frank Williams fractured his wrist during a summer league game, backup center Michael Doleac strained his hamstring on the second day of camp, and Lavor Postell underwent knee surgery the day before the Knicks left for camp.

In addition, Kurt Thomas missed the first practice of training camp after being arrested following an altercation with his wife at their Connecticut home.

The Knicks do not have much depth in the frontcourt, making the task of replacing McDyess all the more difficult. Othella Harrington could move into the starting lineup at power forward, or the Knicks could start Doleac in the middle and move Kurt Thomas from center to power forward.

''We'll be a competitive team,'' Layden said. ''This is the time when the rest of the group has to step it up.''

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