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BASKETBALL

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow visited jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday, just weeks after a Russian court rejected her appeal of her nine-year sentence for drug possession.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a tweet that the American representatives “saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances.”

Price said the Biden administration is continuing to press for the immediate release of Griner and Paul Whelan, who was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison in Russia on espionage-related charges that he and his family say are bogus, and “fair treatment for every detained American.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Griner “is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances” and that the administration was working “to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions” of Griner and Whelan.

WNBA: The Minnesota Lynx signed Coach Cheryl Reeve to a multiyear contract extension and elevated her front office title from general manager to president of basketball operations.

The length of the new deal was not disclosed.

Reeve, who has served as general manager for the last five years, has logged 13 seasons as coach of the Lynx for the longest tenure in league history. She has three WNBA Coach of the Year awards, most recently in 2020. She was also the WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year in 2019.

BASKETBALL

NBA: James Harden is expected to miss about a month because of a right foot tendon strain.

Harden was injured during the Sixers’ loss at Washington on Wednesday and the team said the 10-time All-Star will be evaluated again in two weeks.

• A psychologist who worked for the San Antonio Spurs has sued the team and former player Josh Primo, claiming he exposed himself to her multiple times during private sessions.

Hillary Cauthen worked as a performance psychologist for the team. A lawsuit filed Thursday in Bexar County alleges that the 19-year-old Primo exposed his genitals to her nine times “despite her numerous complaints about Primo’s improper sexual conduct to the organization’s leadership.”

• Miles Bridges pleaded no contest Thursday in Los Angeles to one felony count of injuring a child’s parent, agreeing to do so in exchange for three years probation and no jail time.

The restricted free agent will also have to complete 52 weeks of parenting classes, 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and 100 hours of community service as part of the agreement. He had been facing three felony charges stemming from accusations that he assaulted his girlfriend in front of their two children in June, the Los Angeles County district attorney said.

• The NBA issued $25,000 fines to the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday for violations of the league’s policies regarding injury reporting.

GOLF

PGA: Will Gordon ran off four straight birdies to start the back nine on the El Camaleon course and finished with a 9-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Russell Henley in the World Wide Technology Championship in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Harris English took another step back in his recovery from hip surgery and was at 64, part of a group that included former British Open champion Francesco Molinari.

LPGA: Japanese players Ai Suzuki and Momoko Ueda each shot 7-under 65s to sit atop the first-round leaderboard at the LPGA Tour’s Toto Japan Classic at Shiga, Japan.

Two other Japanese players were a shot behind: Ayaka Furue and Sakura Koiwai. The tournament is being played at the Seta Golf Club in Shiga, Japan.

Furue is the defending champion and Suzuki won the event in 2019.

Miyu Yamashita, another Japanese player, was two strokes behind after a 67.

EUROPEAN TOUR: The European tour will offer $150,000 against players’ earnings and pay $1,500 to other players if they miss the cut as part of a new schedule that boosts prize money and returns to Australia and parts of Asia.

The tour said prize money would be $144.2 million, not including the four majors and the World Golf Championship in Texas.

The four Rolex Series events – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the Scottish Open and BMW PGA Championship – get $1 million increases to $9 million, with the season-ending DP World Tour Championship having a $10 million purse.

The tour also said $6 million from a bonus pool would be distributed among the leading eight players in the DP World Tour rankings at the end of the year.

TENNIS

PARIS MASTERS: Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the quarterfinals at the Paris Masters with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday and will next play Holger Rune for a place in the semifinals after the Danish teenager beat Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-5.

Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is bidding to win a fourth straight title, defeated French veteran Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-3 at the indoor hard-court event. Lorenzo Musetti upset U.S. Open runner-up Casper Ruud 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, while American Frances Tiafoe defeated Alex De Minaur 6-3, 7-6 (5).

The 20-year-old Musetti will play Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals after the 21-time Grand Slam champion beat Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-4, 6-1.

SOCCER

WORLD CUP: Germany forward Timo Werner will miss the World Cup because of a torn ankle ligament.

Werner went off in the first half of Leipzig’s 4-0 Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday after signaling to the bench and showing visible discomfort. Coach Marco Rose said following the game there were indications the injury was not too serious, but the tear was found after he returned to Leipzig.

• Japan defender Yuta Nakayama will miss the World Cup after being injured in an English Championship game one day after being named in the national squad.

Nakayama damaged an Achilles tendon playing for Huddersfield against Sunderland on Wednesday.

Huddersfield said the 25-year-old player needs surgery that will rule him out for the rest of the season.

BARCELONA: Defender Gerard Pique, a three-time Champions League winner with the club who also helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup, has announced his retirement at age 35.

Pique said in a video posted on his Twitter account that “this Saturday will be my last game at Camp Nou.”


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