Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Sprewell sues New York Post, gets suspended

NEW YORK -- Latrell Sprewell sued a newspaper, spouted off and got suspended Monday.

On a day filled with developments related to Sprewell's injured right hand and his relationship with the New York Knicks, the rift between everyone involved only seemed to worsen.

In the morning, Sprewell's agent announced a $40 million lawsuit against the New York Post for its account of how he got hurt. Sprewell later met with reporters and denounced the way the Knicks have treated him, which was followed by an announcement from the team that Sprewell had been suspended one game for failing to follow his rehabilitation procedures.

''They keep pushing me further away,'' Sprewell said.

Devil Rays will make formal offer to Piniella

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays will meet Tuesday with Lou Piniella and offer him a contract to become the team's next manager.

General manager Chuck LaMar spoke Monday with agent Alan Nero and arranged a meeting that will also include Piniella and Devil Rays managing general partner Vince Naimoli.

''At that time,'' the team said in a statement, ''the Devil Rays will make a formal contract proposal to Mr. Piniella.''

Jordan pleased with preseason debut

DENVER -- Michael Jordan made his preseason debut Monday night, hitting his first shot after coming off the bench during the second quarter of the Washington Wizards' game against the Denver Nuggets.

Jordan had sat out the Wizards' first five exhibitions to rest his surgically repaired right knee, but he was growing concerned about getting his timing back for the regular season.

''I moved well and I don't think I favored anything,'' Jordan said after the Wizards' 96-73 victory. ''My timing was off, but it's going to take some time to adjust. I'm pleased.''

He finished with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting with one rebound, one assist, one foul, two steals and two turnovers.

Puckett declares innocence

MINNEAPOLIS -- Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett declared he is innocent of charges he dragged a woman into a restaurant bathroom and groped her.

''Let the process play its course. I know I'm innocent of these charges,'' Puckett said Monday as he left the county jail.

Puckett spent less than a half hour at the jail for a booking procedure and appearance before a judge, who set Nov. 19 for a pretrial hearing. Puckett remains free on his own recognizance.

All-Italian race postponed again at America's Cup

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- An America's Cup makeup race between Italian rivals Prada and Mascalzone Latino was postponed again Tuesday, leaving the first round incomplete.

The race was first scheduled Oct. 5, the fifth day of challenger racing 17 days ago. But it has repeatedly been reset because of adverse weather.

The weather on Hauraki Gulf was rough once more. The wind topped 20 knots and the teams waited three hours for a start before being sent home.

Back injury could sideline Davis for start of season

WESTWEGO, La. -- Baron Davis' back injury is not getting better, and he could sit out the season opener against Utah on Oct. 30.

''There's a distinct possibility that could happen. It's not getting any looser or better at this point,'' Davis said Monday.

The Hornets have been describing Davis' injury as back spasms. He first aggravated the recurring injury during last season's playoffs against Orlando, then experienced more pain in the summer while playing for the U.S. team at the World Championships.

Davis played sparingly in the Hornets' last two exhibition games, then was held out of the team's latest practice along with three other projected starters -- Elden Campbell, P.J. Brown and Jamal Mashburn.

Brown did some jogging before watching the end of practice from the bleachers with his ankle packed in ice. Mashburn took 100 jump shots but did not compete in scrimmages. Campbell, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week and is expected to miss the first week of the season, had less swelling around the knee.

Coach Paul Silas was optimistic about the prospects for those three players -- but his comments concerning Davis' injury were different.

''Baron, I don't know where he is right now,'' Silas said. ''All that the doctors told me is that it's spasms. There's no real pain except in his lower back.''

Silas said Davis needs to be especially mindful of doing his stretching exercises to alleviate some of the stress on his lower back.

Davis said the injury was not causing other problems, but he did not sound optimistic that he'll be feeling anywhere close to 100 percent by the time the regular season begins.

His agent, Jerome Stanley, said the injury was nothing more than spasms.

''With basketball players, a lot of them get tight backs because of the pounding. I think they're trying to operate with caution. We really won't know until the 29th,'' Stanley said

New Orleans wraps up the preseason with a home-and-home set against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and Friday. Mashburn and Campbell will not play in either game, while Davis and Brown are doubtful.

If Davis remains sidelined, the Hornets would likely move David Wesley to the point and use Courtney Alexander at shooting guard. Alexander has recovered from a hip injury that briefly sidelined him last week.

''It's time to get real serious about we're doing here. We don't have much time before opening night, and we need to get ready,'' Silas said.

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