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IN BRIEF

NBA

Rockets’ McGrady to return to lineup today

Houston Rockets guard Tracy McGrady will play against Phoenix tonight after missing Wednesday’s game against Seattle with a sore left shoulder.

But team officials said Rockets forward Shane Battier was questionable for the game with a bruised left foot and ankle. Battier played 18 minutes Wednesday, then sat out most of the second half.

McGrady initially sprained his shoulder late in the Rockets’ 108-100 win over Sacramento on March 24. He played in Houston’s next six games, but had recently started wearing a protective wrap.

Also: Injured Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum saw a knee specialist in New York and still hasn’t been cleared to practice, the team announced.

Bynum has been out since Jan. 13, when he dislocated his left kneecap and bruised a bone landing on a teammate’s foot while going for a rebound.

No target date has been given for Bynum’s return, though he has been widely expected to miss the team’s final two regular-season games and return sometime during the playoffs.

TENNIS

Henin pulls out of event with knee problem

Top-ranked Justine Henin pulled out of next week’s Family Circle Cup because of a knee problem.

Henin said her right knee still feels too sore to compete in the WTA event in Charleston, S.C.

Henin has won two events this season, but lost to Serena Williams 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open last week.

Also: Maria Sharapova outlasted clay-court veteran Anabel Medina Garrigues over 31/2 hours at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Fla.

The top seed rallied from 3-0 down in the third set and survived 7-6 (3), 5-7, 7-6 (1) to move into the quarterfinals.

No. 2 seed Anna Chakvetadze was upset by Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

UNLV senior Elena Gantcheva was named the Mountain West Conference women’s tennis player of the week for a record eighth time in her career.

The Sofia, Bulgaria, native, ranked 35th in the nation in singles, had a combined 6-0 record in singles and doubles play last weekend against Texas Christian, New Mexico and San Diego State.

MISCELLANEOUS

Newman wins 43rd career NASCAR pole

After being penalized 25 points when his fourth-place car was found to be an eighth of an inch too high after Sunday’s race at Texas, Ryan Newman bounced back in Avondale, Ariz., with his 43rd career pole for Saturday night’s NASCAR race.

Newman has won at least one pole in each of his eight seasons in NASCAR and moved into a tie with NASCAR pioneer Buck Baker for 10th on the career qualifying list.

Newman’s fast lap on the mile oval was 133.457 mph, 0.045 faster than runner-up Elliott Sadler’s 133.412.

Also: Nathan Gerbe’s hat trick helped Boston College advance to its third straight hockey championship game — all at North Dakota’s expense.

John Muse stopped 29 shots and the Eagles rode a four-goal opening period to a 6-1 victory over the Fighting Sioux in the Frozen Four semifinals in Denver.

The Eagles will face Notre Dame on Saturday. The Fighting Irish beat top-ranked Michigan 5-4 in overtime in the second semifinal.

Calle Ridderwall punched the puck past freshman goalie Bryan Hogan 5:44 into OT.

Jacques Martin will not serve as the Florida Panthers coach next season.

Martin has been Florida’s general manager and coach, but the Miami Herald reported on its Web site that team owner Alan Cohen told season-ticket holders that Martin’s duties would be split.

Minnesota Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said right wing Mark Parrish probably will have to sit out Game 2 against Colorado because of a head injury sustained in the opener on Wednesday.

A decision on a new contract for Penn State’s Joe Paterno is on hold until the end of this season, when the 81-year-old football coach’s current deal expires.

University president Graham Spanier told The Associated Press that the school and Paterno, who is entering his record 43rd season as coach, agree a new contract isn’t necessary right now.

Jessica Hardy of the United States set a world record in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke at the short-course world championships in Manchester, England, finishing in 29.58 seconds.

The UNLV softball team split with Brigham Young at Eller Media Stadium, losing 11-5 before winning, 5-1.

Stephanie Bregante (12-12) pitched a complete game in the second game for the Rebels (21-23-1, 1-3 Mountain West Conference).

 

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