Kings’ Cousins punished
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for a game without pay and fined US$20,000 for separate incidents in a loss to Houston, the NBA announced on Thursday. Cousins was to miss Friday’s road game against the Los Angeles Lakers for punching Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley in the stomach. The incident took place with 9 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the first quarter of Sacramento’s 129-103 home defeat at the hands of the Rockets. Cousins was issued the fine for abusive comments to a referee and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection with 8:21 remaining in the third quarter of the same game. Cousins argued a call against him for fouling Rockets center Dwight Howard and was issued his 14th technical foul of the season. When that caused Cousins to lose his temper even more, he was issued a second technical for an automatic ejection from the game. He later had to be restrained as he was ushered off the court, but Cousins tweeted an apology after the game. He is one technical foul shy of having the number accumulated that would bring him another suspension for too many technicals in a season.
Aussie Warner gets fine
Australia batsman David Warner was fined 15 percent of his match fee on Thursday for suggesting South Africa’s A.B. de Villiers was guilty of ball tampering during the second Test. Warner, who punched England batsman Joe Root in a nightclub last year, said in a radio interview that De Villiers might have used his gloves to rough up the ball. The Australian accepted the sanction from match referee Roshan Mahanama, an International Cricket Council statement said. “It was disrespectful for David to publicly denigrate an opponent when commenting on a match-related incident,” Mahanama said. “I’m sure David will be careful when making public comments in future.”
Suarez Navarro advances
Top-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro advanced to the Brazil Cup semi-finals on Thursday after No. 5-seeded Monica Niculescu of Romania retired with an apparent right-ankle injury. Niculescu had been struggling to move around the court and at one point lost eight games in a row before pulling out while trailing the Spaniard 4-6, 6-0, 4-1. The 15th-ranked Navarro is to play third-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, runner-up in the Brazil Open last week. Zakopalova advanced after Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania retired while down 3-6, 2-5. Second-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain beat qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-2, 6-7 (7/1), 6-3 and is next to play Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, who defeated sixth-seeded Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-3, 6-3.
Sexton injures thumb
Ireland’s Six Nations hopes suffered a worrying setback on Thursday when flyhalf Jonny Sexton was ruled out for between 10 days and six weeks with a thumb injury, his French club Racing Metro announced. Sexton suffered the injury during Ireland’s 13-10 defeat to England at Twickenham last weekend, Racing coach Laurent Labit said. The 28-year-old Sexton, who has won 41 caps, is to miss today’s French Top 14 match at Castres and is already a doubt for the following weekend’s Six Nations clash at home to Italy. After facing Italy, Ireland are to conclude their campaign against France in Paris on March 15.