Sports briefs: Feb. 14

February 14, 2013 

NBA

Orlando's Turkoglu draws suspension for positive test

Veteran Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu has been suspended 20 games without pay by the NBA for testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

A first-time offender of the NBA/NBA Players Association anti-drug program, Turkoglu tested positive for methenolone, which has helped some athletes build muscle mass. Turkoglu, who will lose $2 million during his suspension, which went into effect on Wednesday with Orlando's game against Atlanta, said that he took the banned substance by mistake.

"While I was back home in Turkey this past summer, I was given a medication by my trainer to help recover more quickly from a shoulder injury," Turkoglu said. "I didn't know that this was a banned substance and didn't check before taking it. I take full responsibility for anything that goes into my body. This was a complete error in judgment on my part and I apologize ..."

Paul George posted his first career triple-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists, and the host Indiana Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 101-77 rout of the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Kevin Garnett scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and added 11 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics overcame poor shooting to beat the visiting Chicago Bulls 71-69. Paul Pierce went 2-for-12 from the floor but hit a three-pointer to give Boston a five-point lead with 3 minutes left. The Celtics shot just 36.8 percent of their shots but the Bulls made just 36.5 percent.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NCAA takes aim at head-hunting

A college football player who delivers a hit to the head of a defenseless opponent could be kicked out of the game next season under an NCAA proposal that took a step forward Wednesday.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee unanimously approved strengthening of the penalty for intentional above-the-shoulder hits. The 15-yard penalty will now have an ejection tacked on, assuming the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approves the plan next month.

Player safety was the theme of the committee's three-day meeting in Indianapolis, with the ejection for targeting the most noticeable change fans will notice in 2013 across all NCAA divisions. If the penalty occurs in the first half, the player would be ejected for the remainder of the game. If the penalty occurs in the second half or overtime, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next game.

Forty-three players, including four from the University of Kentucky, were named Wednesday to the 2012 All Commonwealth Collegiate Team announced by the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame had previously announced that UK offensive lineman Larry Warford and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater were offensive players of the year and that Thomas More defensive back Zach Autenrieb was defensive player of the year.

UK players joining Warford on the first team were linebackers Avery Williamson and Alvin Dupree and place-kicker Landon Foster.

Sugar Bowl champion Louisville topped all schools with seven players on the first team.

The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame started the All Commonwealth Collegiate Team in 2010 to recognize young players at a local level. The announcement leads up to the Hall of Fame's 11th anniversary celebration June 27-29.


NFL

Vikings reward Frazier for late rally

After leading the Vikings to a surprising playoff berth last season, Leslie Frazier has reportedly reached an agreement that will keep him in Minnesota at least through 2014.

Frazier was entering the final year of his deal, and talks of an extension started to become an issue publicly as the Vikings mounted a stunning December run to the playoffs. Stuck at 6-6 and without injured receiver Percy Harvin, the Vikings rode Adrian Peterson to four straight victories, including a thriller over Green Bay in the regular-season finale to thrust them into the post-season. They lost to the Packers the next week in the wild-card round.

Frazier took over for the fired Brad Childress with six games to go in the 2010 season. He is 16-22 in the regular season since then.

Former Dallas Cowboys place-kicker David Buehler has signed with the New York Giants. Lawrence Tynes is entering the final year of his contract with New York. Buehler led the NFL in 2009 with 29 touchbacks. He made 24 of 32 field-goal attempts in 2010. He played in four games in 2011 before getting hurt and undergoing surgery on a torn labrum. He did not play last year after failing a physical.


BASEBALL

M's make pitcher Hernandez highest-paid

Fighting back tears while his hands trembled, Felix Hernandez talked about the seven-year contract he signed with the Seattle Mariners that makes him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.

Hernandez's new deal will be worth $175 million. The contract covers the final two years of his current deal that was scheduled to run through the 2014 season and adds five additional years through the 2019 season. Hernandez's total dollars would top CC Sabathia's original $161 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees and his $25 million average would surpass Zack Greinke's $24.5 million under his new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Yankees have added depth to their bullpen, acquiring right-hander Shawn Kelley from the Seattle Mariners for minor-league outfielder Abraham Almonte.


ETC.

Vols report 10 secondary violations

Tennessee on Wednesday self-reported 10 NCAA secondary violations, including three in men's basketball.

One of the men's basketball violations involved holding open individual skill instruction before a football game. During that session, recruits making official visits were allowed to attempt shots while coaches were present. The others were inconsistencies in the camp registration process and prohibited grocery shopping services for student-athletes.

The list included one self-reported violation by the football program. It concerned an administrative intern providing coaching to players during a game. All the violations occurred since August.

Southern California has fired baseball coach Frank Cruz for violating NCAA rules regarding limits on practice time and organized team activities. Trojans athletic director Pat Haden announced Wednesday that, along with dismissing Cruz, the school has self-imposed a reduction in the number of practice hours for the baseball team this season and next.

Stonestreet Farm announced Wednesday night that 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was taken to Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington after complications developed related to the birth of her Bernardini filly. According to the farm's website, "Rachel Alexandra underwent surgery to repair an area of bruising in her small colon, which was injured during foaling. Dr. Brett Woodie performed the surgery and Rachel is currently in recovery under the watch of Dr. Bonnie Barr. A full prognosis cannot be determined at this time, but her condition is serious."


The last word

With only a few weeks left before a decision on long putters, British Open champion Ernie Els is holding out hope that golf officials change their minds on banning them.

"There's no data that really confirms that they have to ban it. If there were 90 percent of the guys using it, or if the guys using it were top of the putting ranks, guys making more putts from 20 feet, more putts from 4 feet ... give me something to go by to really make me believe that you have to ban it."

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