Hawks lose All-Star Horford, then beat Bobcats by 30
Josh Smith scored 30 points, Joe Johnson added 23 and the host Atlanta Hawks won their first game without All-Star center Al Horford, routing the Charlotte Bobcats 111-81 on Thursday night.
The Hawks learned earlier in the day that Horford, a leader on and off the court, will miss at least three months after tearing the pectoral muscle in his left shoulder Wednesday night at Indiana.
With Horford sidelined, Smith and Johnson came through big time against the hapless Bobcats, who lost their fifth in a row and dropped to 2-9. The Hawks (8-4) dominated on the boards, outrebounding Charlotte 55-30.
Byron Mullens led the Bobcats with 21 points in his first career start.
Nothing went right for the Bobcats, who didn't have anyone with more than six rebounds and shot just 1-for-8 from three-point range. The Hawks had their biggest lead at the end, after both teams had cleared their benches. Thirty-seven-year-old Jerry Stackhouse of the Hawks even had a rim-hanging jam in the final minute, leading to chants of "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" from what remained of the sparse crowd generously listed at 10,597.
Horford's injury will likely require surgery, stunning a team that has made the playoffs four years in a row and is off to a solid start this season.
■ Carmelo Anthony left the Knicks' game against Memphis on Thursday night after spraining his right ankle early in the second half. Knicks officials said Anthony wouldn't return and that X-rays were negative. Anthony, the Knicks' leading scorer at 26.6 points a game, injured the ankle on New York's end of the floor and immediately limped to the bench. He was taken to the locker room moments later.
■ Golden State Warriors center Kwame Brown is expected to miss at least three months because of a chest injury. The Warriors announced Thursday that an MRI determined that Brown has torn his pectoralis major, the large chest muscle that attaches to his right shoulder. He will have surgery in the next few days.
Selig 'very hopeful' to add wild card
Commissioner Bud Selig is "very hopeful" another wild card team from each league will be added this season. Selig says that a committee formed to work out details of expanding the playoffs from eight teams to 10 is dealing with scheduling issues. Addition of a second wild card in each league would add a one-game play-in between teams with the two best records in each league that are not division winners. Selig says that would mean condensing the overall playoff schedule. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, MLB and the players' union must agree by March 1 whether to add the new round for 2012.
■ Selig has been given a two-year contract extension through the 2014 season. Selig has held the position since 1992, first as acting commissioner and then as commissioner since 1998. He will turn 80 in July 2014.
■ Johan Santana hopes to be back on the mound for the New York Mets when the season starts yet doesn't want to guess whether he'll actually be ready by then. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is coming back from shoulder surgery and hasn't pitched in the major leagues since Sept. 2, 2010, 12 days before an operation repaired a torn anterior capsule. "It's going to be tough for me to guess, because I don't know how I'm going to be in two months," the injured left-hander said Thursday.
■ Free agent Luke Scott agreed to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. The 33-year-old first baseman/outfielder likely will serve as the team's primary designated hitter. Scott is a .264 career hitter who spent the past four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
■ Outfielder Carlos Gomez and left-hander Manny Parra have agreed to one-year deals with the Milwaukee Brewers, avoiding salary arbitration.
Two U of L players drafted by MLS
Louisville soccer players Nick DeLeon and Austin Berry were among the top 10 picks in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday. DeLeon went seventh to the D.C. United and Berry two spots later to Chicago. Duke forward Andrew Wenger was selected by the expansion Montreal Impact with the No. 1 overall pick in the two-round draft. Wenger won the Hermann Trophy as the top NCAA player.
■ Brazil will play an exhibition game against the United States on May 30 or 31 at Landover, Md., or Foxborough, Mass. The game was announced Thursday by Brazilian soccer's governing body. It will be part of a three-game U.S. trip for Brazil.
Agent Steinberg files for bankruptcy
Sports agent Leigh Steinberg, who represented many of the NFL's biggest stars and was the inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Known as the first super agent, Steinberg said Wednesday that he takes responsibility for debts of several million dollars. "I just lost track while I was in rehab," Steinberg told The Associated Press. He said he struggled with alcohol for years but has been sober since 2010. His attorneys filed the Chapter 7 petition late Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court in Santa Ana, Calif. Steinberg has represented NFL stars such as Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Steve Young and Ben Roethlisberger. He was the inspiration for Tom Cruise's character in 1996's Jerry Maguire. The movie turned "Show me the money!" into an enduring catchphrase.
Burke has surgery on vertebral artery
Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke remained in critical condition Thursday after a successful operation to repair a tear to an artery that caused bleeding into her brain. Burke was placed into an induced coma to relieve stress on her brain after her accident Tuesday and had surgery the next day. "With injuries of this type, we need to observe the course of her brain function before making definitive pronouncements about Sarah's prognosis for recovery," said William Couldwell, the neurosurgeon who performed the operation. Burke, a four-time Winter X Games champion in halfpipe skiing and one of the leading pioneers of her sport, injured herself while practicing on the halfpipe in Park City, Utah. She tore a vertebral artery, which are located in the neck and supply blood to the brainstem — the back part of the brain which controls consciousness.
Wheldon's widow accepts Indy trophy
The widow of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon made a rare appearance in accepting the BorgWarner Trophy he earned with last year's victory. Susie Wheldon accepted the BorgWarner Championship Drivers' Trophy on Wheldon's behalf in a ceremony Wednesday night in Detroit. Wheldon was killed in a 15-car accident in the opening laps of the Oct. 16 IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "Anyone who knew Dan or heard him speak about the Indy 500 knew how passionate he was about this race," Susie Wheldon said in prepared remarks. "He loved everything about it."
The last word
LeBron James, after the Miami Heat missed 14 free throws (eight by James) in a 95-89 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night:
"We defended and gave ourselves a chance to win, and that's all you can ask for. So we can be satisfied."