Bucks' Bogut doing well
Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut is ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation of a lower left leg sprain that originally was expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks. "His progress is probably better than we anticipated," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said on Thursday. "But beyond that, I don't know." Stotts said he expects to know more about a revised timeline for Bogut's return next week. The Australian returned to the court in practice this week, but only to shoot a few baskets. Bogut, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's NBA draft, was helped off the court after banging his leg into Steve Blake's knee during a team practice on Oct. 7.
Sociedad fire Bakero
Real Sociedad fired coach Jose Maria Bakero on Thursday after its worst-ever start to a season. Under Bakero, who took charge in March in the twin roles of coach and sports director, Sociedad dropped to last place with only two points from its first seven games of the season. On Wednesday, the Basque team crashed to a 4-1 defeat at second-division Malaga in the Copa del Rey. Bakero, a former Spain international midfielder who played for Sociedad and FC Barcelona in the 1980s and '90s, is the first coach to leave a Spanish first-division side this season. Sociedad, which has been in the top division since 1967 and won the Spanish league in 1981 and 82, said yesterday it would hold a news conference at which it is expected to name Bakero's replacement.
■ Rugby Union
Qualifying venue switched
The International Rugby Board has decided to drop Colombo as host for the final Asian qualifying round for next year's World Cup because of concerns about security. The IRB informed the Japan Rugby Football Union early yesterday that it was changing the venue but had yet to decide on a new host city for the Nov. 19-25 qualifying round. Japan will play Hong Kong in the opening match on Nov. 19, followed by South Korea vs. Hong Kong on Nov. 21 and Japan vs. South Korea on Nov. 25 in the three-team round robin event. The top team will qualify directly for a place at the World Cup in France, with the second-place team going into a playoff.