Appeals court overturns judge's ruling to lift lockout
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday threw out a judge's order lifting the NFL lockout, handing the league a victory as players and owners returned to negotiations. The ruling was issued shortly after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith opened a second straight day of labor talks at a law firm in Manhattan. The court vacated an April 25 decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson that the lockout should be lifted because players were suffering irreparable harm. The appeals court had already put that order on hold and said in its ruling that Nelson ignored federal law in reaching her decision.
"While we respect the court's decision, today's ruling does not change our mutual recognition that this matter must be resolved through negotiation," the league and NFLPA said in a joint statement.
During negotiations Friday, the rookie wage scale and finalizing free-agency rules were discussed, according to a person familiar with the talks who requested anonymity because details are not being announced publicly. Owners want to increase the number of unrestricted free agents on which they can exercise the right of first refusal. The appeals court ruling allows the players' antitrust lawsuit to move forward, but the court did take issue with the NFL Players Association's decision to decertify on March 11, a move that cleared the way for players to file their lawsuit against the league.
Trevathan, Warford on award watch lists
Two Kentucky defensive players were added Friday to watch lists for prestigious national awards. Linebacker Danny Trevathan was named to the pre-season watch list for the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which honors the defensive player of the year. The senior from Leesburg, Fla., led the Southeastern Conference in tackles last season with 144 and led the Wildcats with 16 tackles for loss. Offensive lineman Larry Warford is on the watch list of the 2011 Outland Trophy, honoring the best interior lineman in college football. The Richmond native led the team with 43 knockdown blocks in 2010.
Georgia's possible starting RB ineligible
Georgia's depth chart at tailback took another hit Friday when senior Caleb King was declared academically ineligible for the 2011 season. King ended spring practice as the team's starter. Washaun Ealey, who led Georgia in rushing last season, left school in May after two suspensions for disciplinary reasons. Friday's announcement by Coach Mark Richt opens the way for incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell to begin his career as the starting tailback. Richt talked about his high expectations for Crowell, from Carver High in Columbus, when the highly recruited back signed with Georgia in February. Richt hinted that Crowell could be the starter when the Bulldogs open their season against Boise State in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 3.
Report: Yao retiring; agent lists 'a lot of ifs'
Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is retiring, according to a report by Yahoo Sports. The 7-foot-6 Chinese star, plagued by lower-body injuries in the second half of his career, has informed the league office that his playing career is over, the Web site reported. The Rockets declined to comment on the report because of the lockout, and the NBA has not received official retirement paperwork from Yao. Yao's contract expired after last season, and the Rockets said they were interested in re-signing him if he came back healthy. Yao said in April in China that his professional future depended on his recovery from a stress fracture in his left ankle. John Huizinga, one of Yao's American agents, would not confirm the report during a phone interview on Friday. He said Yao's recovery was "on track," but Yao's future with the Rockets has been uncertain for some time.
"If he feels that he's recovered enough to play and, if the lockout ever ends, and if the Rockets are interested in him, then there's certainly a good chance he'll stay in Houston," Huizinga said. "But there are a whole lot of 'ifs' in that statement."
Wade says he'd consider overseas play
Dwyane Wade says he could see himself and other NBA stars eyeing an overseas contract if the lockout drags on, just as New Jersey's Deron Williams is doing. Williams is discussing a deal with Turkish team Besiktas, and Wade said Friday he would consider playing in Europe at some point if the NBA situation is not settled.
"We've known that the lockout was a possibility for the last couple of years," he said. "It's not just something that came overnight. (Williams) didn't wake up and say, 'All right, go play in Turkey.' ... Hopefully, we don't get to that point, but if we do, I'm sure a lot of guys will possibly explore it."
And Wade made it clear: He could be in that group.
"If there's an opportunity there, I'd consider it," he said.
■ Sonny Weems joined Zalgiris Kaunas of Lithuania Friday, signing a contract that will keep him in Europe all season rather than risk sitting out an entire year if the lockout lasts. Roger Montgomery, Weems' agent, said his client signed the deal Thursday without an NBA opt-out clause because he believes the league's uncertain labor situation makes it "in our best interest to unpack our bags and stay the entire year." Weems played last season for Toronto and was a restricted free agent.
Russia knocks out U.S. in U19 quarters
Dmitry Kulagin had 21 points, including five of Russia's 12 three-pointers, in a 79-74 quarterfinal victory over the United States on Friday, knocking the defending champions out of FIBA's Under 19 World Championship in Latvia. Jeremy Lamb of NCAA champion Connecticut had 21 points for the Americans (5-2), who missed all nine of their three-point attempts and faces Poland (5-2) on Saturday in a consolation semifinal game. The loss was the second straight for the U.S. team, which was beaten 87-85 by Croatia to cap the second round.
UK's Moir wins rain-shortened Miley
Kentucky junior golfer Megan Moir shot an even-par 72 in the first round of the Marion Miley Invitational on Thursday, and she was crowned the tournament champion on Friday after heavy rains in the Lexington area canceled the second and final round of the tournament. The Marion Miley Invitational at the Lexington Country Club is considered one of the most prestigious amateur women's golf tournaments in the state.
IOC announces no-needle policy for '12
The International Olympic Committee will enforce a "no needle" policy for the 2012 London Olympics that bars athletes from possessing syringes and other medical equipment that could be used for doping. IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist said needles will be prohibited from living areas, locker rooms and training and competition sites without medical clearance.
■ World record holder Usain Bolt cruised to an easy win over European champion Christophe Lemaitre in the 200 meters at the Areva athletics meeting Friday in Saint-Denis, France. The Jamaican sprinter clocked 20.03 seconds, well off his record of 19.19 set at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. Bolt has been working on his technique lately, before defending his world titles next month in South Korea.
■ Neil Dougherty, who coached the Texas Christian basketball team for six seasons and was an assistant at Vanderbilt and South Carolina, has died. He was 50. His death was announced Friday by Kansas, where he also once worked as an assistant. The school said he died Tuesday in Indianapolis.
■ Mark Cavendish captured the crash-marred seventh stage Friday in the same town where he won a Tour de France stage for the first time three years ago. Thor Hushovd kept the leader's yellow jersey.
The last word
The Dodgers' Andre Ethier said some of his friends and family had purchased All-Star tickets anticipating he would make the NL team. After he lost the online fan vote to Shane Victorino, he said, they asked for his help in selling the tickets. But that was premature because Ethier was named to replace the injured Victorino Friday:
"I'm not a broker. Hopefully, they didn't sell."