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Jury rules TBS owes $316 million in lawsuit

Turner Broadcasting System should pay $316 million to a Texas businessman who claims the major cable network operator breached a contract that he was negotiating to buy the city’s pro basketball and hockey teams, a jury ruled Tuesday in Atlanta.

The verdict in favor of David McDavid does not affect the NBA Hawks and NHL Thrashers, both of which are now owned by an eight-man group known as Atlanta Spirit.

McDavid signed a letter of intent with Turner, a unit of Time Warner Inc., to purchase the two teams in April 2003. The proposed deal also included operating rights to Philips Arena, home of the Hawks and Thrashers.

McDavid’s exclusive negotiating rights expired 45 days later, but the two sides continued to talk. Then, in September 2003, Turner announced it was selling the teams and the arena rights to the Spirit group.

The spurned bidder filed a $450 million lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court, accusing executives of sharing his confidential financial information with the group that now owns the teams.


Mavericks star Howard still out indefinitely

Josh Howard remains in a walking boot for his problematic left ankle, and the Dallas Mavericks don’t know how long they’ll be without their second-leading scorer and rebounder.

The former All-Star had missed eight straight games because of the injury. Multiple MRIs have shown no structural damage and nothing requiring surgery.

Coach Rick Carlisle described it as “nothing that’s out of the ordinary.” Thus, the best option was to mobilize the ankle in hopes that a long rest is all Howard needs.

Also: Portland Trail Blazers swingman Martell Webster will be sidelined for an estimated four weeks after experiencing pain in his left foot during Sunday’s game at Toronto.

The pain occurred in his first game back after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot Oct. 9.


Struggling Real Madrid fires coach Schuster

Real Madrid fired Bernd Schuster, two days after the German coach said it would be “impossible” for the two-time defending Spanish champion to win against Barcelona on Saturday.

Former Tottenham and Sevilla coach Juande Ramos replaces the 49-year-old Schuster, who was fired six months after guiding the Spanish powerhouse to its record 31st league title.

Fifth-place Madrid trails leader Barcelona by nine points entering Saturday’s game.

Also: Ronaldo has agreed to play with the Brazilian team Corinthians, a return home for the three-time FIFA player of the year whose career has been undercut by injuries.

His decision was confirmed by a team spokeswoman who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press. She said the announcement was expected this week.

The Australian government will commit $30 million to landing the World Cup in 2018.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced his government would work with Australia’s soccer federation to bring the soccer championship Down Under for the first time.

UNLV women’s soccer player Ashleigh Shoughro was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-West Region third team. The sophomore forward had 11 goals and a program-record 28 points for the season.


Ballesteros finally released from hospital

Seve Ballesteros thanked doctors and staff for giving him the chance to play the “mulligan of my life” when he was released from a Madrid, Spain, hospital more than two months after brain surgery to remove a malignant tumor.

The 51-year-old Spanish golfing great will continue to be treated as an outpatient, Madrid’s La Paz hospital said in a statement.

Also: Adam Scott withdrew from this week’s Australian Open after failing to recover from a knee injury he sustained in a surf accident last week.

Scott hurt his right kneecap while running out of the surf at a Queeensland, Australia, beach, forcing him to pull out of the Australian PGA Championship last week.

The Pittsburgh Penguins said veteran defenseman Hal Gill is out two to four weeks with a shoulder injury suffered late in Saturday’s loss at Ottawa.

Gill is the fourth Penguins defenseman out with an injury, though Ryan Whitney could return next week from offseason foot surgery.

About 500 doping samples from the Beijing Olympics will be retested next month for a new version of the endurance-enhancing hormone EPO and other illegal substances, the IOC said.

Luxembourg cyclist Frank Schleck was cleared by his national anti-doping agency of involvement in the 2006 Spanish doping scandal uncovered by Operation Puerto.

Schleck finished sixth in this year’s Tour de France and led the race for three days.

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