Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

■ BASKETBALL

Oden out for season

Greg Oden, the top pick in this year's NBA draft, will likely miss his first season with the Portland Trail Blazers after surgery on his right knee on Thursday. Doctors found cartilage damage during an exploratory procedure, and team physician Don Roberts performed microfracture surgery to repair the damage. "There are things about this that are positive for Greg. First of all, he is young. The area where the damage was is small and the rest of his knee looked normal," Roberts said in a statement. "All those are good signs for a complete recovery from microfracture surgery."

■ CRICKET

Dravid quits captaincy

Prolific middle-order batsman Rahul Dravid has offered to step down as captain of India's cricket team, a report said yesterday. Dravid, 34, told the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that he should not be considered for the captaincy for the Test series in Australia in December, the Press Trust of India news agency said. He met BCCI president Sharad Pawar on Thursday and expressed his desire to quit the captaincy, saying he wanted to concentrate on his batting. He pledged to support his successor. Dravid has scored 9,492 runs in 112 Tests and 10,534 runs in 327 one day internationals.

■ CYCLING

Petacchi wins 12th stage

Italian cyclist Alessandro Petacchi won his second straight stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Thursday, and Denis Menchov retained the overall lead. Petacchi, who rides for Team Milram, won the 176km 12th leg in 3 hours, 41 minutes, 1 second, with Lampre-Fondital's Daniele Bennati of Italy second and AG2R Prevoyance rider Aliaksandr Usov of Belarus third, both with the same time. "It's my second straight and this one is for the whole team, because nobody else helped us shorten this leg," Petacchi said. "We did it ourselves ... and we had to work hard for it."

■ SOCCER

Irish probe plane bust-up

Northern Ireland's soccer association said on Thursday it was investigating a reported fight between its own players following Wednesday's 2-1 defeat in their Group F Euro 2008 qualifier against Iceland. Local media said two players had exchanged blows as they boarded their flight from Reykjavik on Thursday morning and that other squad members had intervened to break them up. The Irish Football Association (IFA) declined to comment beyond saying it was aware of the situation and would investigate.

■ SOCCER

Scolari in left jab furor

Another bad result and an ill-considered left jab could spell the end of Portugal's romance with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Tempers flared after the Portuguese were held to a 1-1 draw by Serbia on Wednesday in a European Championship qualifier, the team's second straight draw in Lisbon. When Portugal winger Ricardo Quaresma and Serbia's Ivica Dragutinovic squared up to each other after the final whistle, Scolari intervened. TV pictures showed the Serb slapping away the Brazilian's arm. In reply, Scolari aimed a left-handed punch at Dragutinovic. Scolari said he didn't make contact. Dragutinovic said the punch brushed his cheek. "I don't know what the pictures show but I didn't touch him, I didn't even bump up against him," Scolari said.

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