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Lee Out at Least 6 Weeks With Broken Wrist (AP)
Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, right, grimaces in pain while holding his right wrist as he is tended to by a team trainer after colliding with Los Angeles Dodgers' Rafael Furcal at first base during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 19, 2006, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)AP - Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee broke two bones in his right wrist in a collision with the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal and is expected to be in a cast up to six weeks.


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Yanks 1st Team to Top $1 Billion in Value (AP)
New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, right, is congratulated by teammate Hideki Matsui after hitting a home run in the fifth inning during baseball action in Toronto, Wednesday April 19, 2006. (AP Photo/Adrian Wyld, CP)AP - The New York Yankees became the first baseball team valued at more than $1 billion in the annual estimates made by Forbes magazine.


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Artest: Kings Favorites Against Spurs (AP)
Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest, center, flips the ball to the basket past Seattle SuperSonics' Mikki Moore, left, and Rashard Lewis, right, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, April 18, 2006. The Kings won 111-105.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)AP - Ron Artest stayed in the Sacramento Kings' practice complex long after his teammates left Thursday, firing jumper after jumper with his injured right thumb heavily wrapped.


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Tigers Score 2 in 9th to Beat Athletics (AP)
Oakland Athletics'  Barry Zito pitches to the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, April 20, 2006, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)AP - Brandon Inge kept hacking away, trying to show fill-in closer Justin Duchscherer he would not back down or be an easy out.


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Phillips Hits 2 Home Runs As Reds Romp (AP)
Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips hits a grand slam during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, April 20, 2006, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)AP - Brandon Phillips finally knows what it feels like to hit a grand slam.


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Panthers Sign Na'il Diggs From Packers (AP)
AP - The Carolina Panthers added another outside linebacker Thursday, signing free agent Na'il Diggs from the Green Bay Packers to a one-year contract.

Knicks coach Brown vows to stay on despite health concerns (Reuters)
Reuters - New York Knicks coach Larry Brown intends to remain at the team next season despite a health scare that forced him to miss three games toward the end of a dismal 23-59 season.

Giants Blow Lead, Beat Diamondbacks in 9th (AP)
San Francisco Giants' Moises Alou (18) and Steve Finley congratulate each other after scoring on a three-run triple by teammate Ray Durham during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday, April 20, 2006, in Phoenix. Durham's hit also scored Randy Winn. (AP Photo/Tom Hood)AP - Mark Sweeney drew a bases loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run and Pedro Feliz added a two-run double to lead the Giants to a 9-7 victory over the Diamondbacks on Thursday night.


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Red Bulls Get New Managing Director (AP)
AP - Marc De Grandpre became managing director of Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls on Thursday and said Mo Johnston will remain as head coach.

Blues Exercise Tkachuk's Option (AP)
St. Louis Blues hockey coacch Mike Kitchen smiles as he responds to questions during the team's end-of-season meeting with the media Wednesday, April 19, 2006, in St. Louis. The Blues finished with 57 points for the NHL's lowest total this season. Their point total was their lowest since 1978-79 and third worst in franchise history. St. Louis also missed the playoffs for the first time since 1979.  (AP Photo/James A. Finley)AP - The NHL-worst St. Louis Blues decided to keep left wing Keith Tkachuk, exercising a $3.8 million option for next season Thursday.


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Chief Justice
No offensive tackle in the draft – not even D'Brickashaw Ferguson – can match the skills of Winston Justice.

Williams found guilty in boat party case (AP)
Former Minnesota Vikings running back Moe Williams, charged last fall after a raunchy team boat party that tarnished the team's season, was found guilty of disorderly conduct Thursday. A jury found him not guilty of two other misdemeanors -- indecent conduct and lewd or lascivious behavior. Williams was accused of touching the breasts of a dancer in a public space during the boat cruise on Lake...

Bengals sign Chad Johnson to extension (AP)
Chad Johnson got a minimum one-year contract extension Thursday as part of a reworked contract that substantially increases his pay and could keep him with the Cincinnati Bengals through 2011. The Bengals also got a tentative deal with Anthony Wright to become the backup quarterback while Carson Palmer recovers from reconstructive knee surgery, leading an offense that counts heavily on Johnson.

Favre: McNair 'doesn't deserve' exile (AP)
Brett Favre, who has been treated with patience by the Green Bay Packers while deciding if he will retire, doesn't like the way the Tennessee Titans have dealt with Steve McNair, their veteran quarterback. "All of the things he has done for that team," the Packers QB said Thursday. "He really has been the face of that team for the last 10 or 11 years, the one bright spot really.

Panthers sign ex-Packers LB Diggs (AP)
The Carolina Panthers added another outside linebacker Thursday, signing free agent Na'il Diggs from the Green Bay Packers to a one-year contract. Diggs, 27, started 80 games in six seasons with the Packers, but was limited to just nine games last season after tearing the medial collateral ligaments in both knees on different occasions.

Arrington undergoes physical with Giants (AP)
LaVar Arrington took a physical for the New York Giants Thursday, one indication that the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker might be on the verge of signing with the team. Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi said Arrington came to the New York area to take the physical. Arrington also visited the team March 11-12, but at the time, the 27-year-old declined to submit to an examination of his surgically...

Chiefs GM counting on Holmes next season (AP)
With an NFL draft full of tantalizing young players looming, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson turned his attention Thursday to a veteran. Peterson said he is counting Priest Holmes "in" for next season, as the three-time Pro Bowl running back continues to recover from midseason surgery for head and neck trauma.

NFL says Bills should stay in New York (AP)
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue reassured a New York senator and jittery Buffalo Bills fans Thursday that the league's new labor agreement won't hurt small market teams and force the team to relocate. Tagliabue also told Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer that Bills owner Ralph Wilson, whose vocal complaints sparked Thursday's meeting, will be one of eight owners on a committee that will hammer out...

Great expectations
With four potential classic matchups in the second round, the 2006 NBA playoffs could be the best of all time.

NBA Playoffs: LeBron is in, Kobe is back (AP)
Welcome to the postseason, LeBron. And welcome back, Kobe. Sure, the Pistons and Spurs made for a great NBA Finals last year, and they would surely do it again if both get back, as expected, this time. But for the playoffs to really be special, they need the league's superstars to have their time in the spotlight.

With mother ailing, Riley back with Heat (AP)
Ever the perfectionist, Pat Riley expects to be at his best when the Miami Heat open the postseason Saturday night. It's a tall order, especially for a coach with much more than basketball on his mind. There's never a good time for any family to be burdened with a medical crisis. But instead of spending this week studying scouting reports and getting ready for the playoffs, Riley spent four days in...

Wait over as Cavs gear up for playoffs (AP)
As shiny maroon and gold-colored confetti fluttered around them, the Cavaliers circled on the floor after winning their regular-season finale and peeled off their home jerseys. Then, they kicked off their sneakers and handed the items to some lucky fans. The Cavs don't have to wait until next season for new ones.

Nets worried about facing Pacers (AP)
Looking at the NBA standings, it's easy to assume the New Jersey Nets aren't going to have much of a problem with the Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the playoffs. The Pacers (41-41) have been a model of inconsistency this season. Reggie Miller and Ron Artest are no longer on Indiana's roster and the Pacers seemingly don't have the talent to contend with the Nets' triple threat of Jason...

Bulls roll into playoff series with Heat (AP)
Their season was bouncing away, rolling toward a drum full of lottery balls. The way Chris Duhon saw it, the Chicago Bulls had a choice. "We could end the season on a sour note, or we might have a chance to make a run," he said. The Bulls made their run. They sprung back from 10 games below .500 to win 12 of their last 14, finish with a 41-41 record and earn their second straight playoff berth.

Brown says he'll stay, some Knicks won't (AP)
Forget the health concerns, the 59 losses or the feud with Stephon Marbury: Larry Brown is coming back next season. That's what Brown and team president Isiah Thomas said Thursday, one day after the New York Knicks completed one of the worst seasons in their history. As for the rest of the team's high-priced but underachieving roster, changes figure to be coming.

Iverson, Webber may not return to 76ers (AP)
Chris Webber and Allen Iverson had more in common than the Philadelphia 76ers expected. They showed up late to the home finale, caused trouble together, were fined together, and disrespected the fans and management together. The duo inspired a memorably profane rant from team president Billy King, had to apologize for their tardiness and looked disinterested watching the finale in street clothes.

NBA sets attendance record (AP)
The NBA set an attendance record for the second straight year, announcing Thursday that it averaged 17,558 fans for its games this season. With the league's arenas filled to 91.4 percent capacity, the league bettered last season's average of 17,314. Before that, the previous mark had been 17,252 in 1995-96.

McHale takes blame for Wolves' season (AP)
Kevin McHale isn't going anywhere. Neither, he says, is Kevin Garnett. McHale, the Minnesota Timberwolves' vice president of basketball operations, and coach Dwane Casey reflected Thursday on the franchise's second straight disappointing season that included just 33 wins, the team's lowest total since 1996.

Power rankings
Hockey's second season begins Friday, but is anyone sure what it will look like?

Maple Leafs fire coach Pat Quinn (AP)
Pat Quinn missed the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons as Maple Leafs coach. Apparently that was enough to get him fired. Quinn was let go Thursday, two days after Toronto's season ended without a postseason bid. The 63-year-old Quinn, who had one year remaining on his contract, missed the playoffs for only the second time in his stellar 19-year coaching career.

GM Craig Patrick leaving Penguins (AP)
Craig Patrick made some of the best trades in NHL history. He oversaw some of the best drafts, built some of the best teams and signed some of the best players and coaches. Consider this Hall of Fame resume: Drafted Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr. Traded for Ron Francis, Joe Mullen and Larry Murphy. Re-signed Mario Lemieux so one of hockey's greatest players could play his entire career in...

Wings' Datsyuk to miss playoff opener (AP)
Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk is expected to miss the first game of the playoffs Friday against the Edmonton Oilers because of an injured left thigh. Datsyuk practiced Thursday, but Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he didn't appear to be ready to play in Game 1. "He looked to me like he was going to take tomorrow off," Babcock said.

Stanley Cup chase is wide open (AP)
You won't find any true bracket busters in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs. There are 16 teams in the hunt for the silver chalice, and from top to bottom every club can make a case that it can skate off with North America's oldest sports trophy. Ottawa clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday, the final night of the regular season, which gave the Senators the right to play the...

Blues exercise Tkachuk's $3.8M option (AP)
The NHL-worst St. Louis Blues decided to keep left wing Keith Tkachuk, exercising a $3.8 million option for next season Thursday. The 34-year-old Tkachuk had 15 goals and 21 assists in 41 games this season after reporting overweight to training camp and getting suspended. Tkachuk has 446 goals and 422 assists in 897 career regular-season games with Winnipeg, Phoenix and St.

Devils surge to Atlantic Division title (AP)
Jaromir Jagr and the New York Rangers have a lot more to worry about than their season-ending five-game losing streak that cost them the Atlantic Division title. A bigger concern is the Devils, the hottest team in hockey, and one that is looking very much like the defensive-minded teams that brought Stanley Cups to New Jersey in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

Kings set to name GM, possibly Lombardi (AP)
The Los Angeles Kings have called a news conference for Friday to announce their new general manager, with former San Jose Sharks GM Dean Lombardi the leading candidate to replace the fired Dave Taylor. Lombardi worked this season as a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers. Taylor was dismissed as president and general manager Tuesday after the Kings failed to make the playoffs for the third...

Yzerman, Wings seek another championship (AP)
Steve Yzerman has stood for hundreds of national anthems during his two decades in Detroit, giving the Red Wings' captain plenty of time to gaze around Joe Louis Arena. As Yzerman faces the U.S. and Canadian flags, he can't miss the five retired jerseys hanging in the rafters, including Gordie Howe's, and 10 Stanley Cup banners from 1936-02.

Lightning embrace underdog status (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning are undaunted by being a heavy underdog to Ottawa in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The reigning Stanley Cup champions begin defense of their title against the top seed in the Eastern Conference on Friday night. The Senators won all four meetings between the teams during the regular season and are 17-2-1 against their former expansion mates over the past five years.

Bad boys havin' fun
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart were fast Thursday at Phoenix and quick to enjoy the spotlight.

Kyle Busch wins pole for Subway Fresh 500 (SportsTicker)


Kyle Busch wins Phoenix pole (AP)
Kyle Busch picked up where he left off at Phoenix International Raceway, winning the pole Thursday to put himself in prime position to win a second straight race in the desert.

JGR rookies thriving under Stewart's tutelage (AP)
It was supposed to be a major mismatch -- two-time series champion Tony Stewart teamed with a pair of raw rookies in NASCAR's premier series.

Biffle: Girlfriend's spat with Busch's fiancee ``out of proportion'' (AP)
NASCAR officials have yet to speak with Greg Biffle's girlfriend about her confrontation with Kurt Busch's fiancee following a wreck between the two drivers.

FanView, new Sprint Nextel device, takes fans deeper into the action (AP)
CHARLOTTE – From his seat high in the grandstands, Lance Ramsey could see every bit of action on the race...

Drivers get their "Big Chance" (AP)
There's ``American Idol'' for wannabe divas and rock stars. ``The Apprentice'' looks for a few good tycoons-in-waiting.

Martin thrilled with Lowe's repaving (AP)
If there's anything wrong with the freshly paved surface at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Mark Martin would be the driver to find it.

Graves steps down as team manager, Stremme gets new crew chief in Ganassi shakeup (AP)
Andy Graves, the first employee hired by car owner Chip Ganassi when he started his NASCAR operation, resigned as team manager Tuesday as part of a shakeup within the three-car operation.

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