The U.S. Olympic Committee will hire two infectious disease specialists to advise potential Olympians who are worried about the Zika outbreak in Brazil.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun sent a letter to all possible Olympians, acknowledging the growing worries over the virus. The letter spells out much of the information that's already been relayed by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The virus is spread by mosquitoes.
About 20 percent of those infected display mild symptoms, including body aches and rash. But pregnant women and those considering getting pregnant have greater reason for concern because the virus can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated earlier this week, U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo said if the Olympics were being held now, she wouldn't go. She reiterated those comments following the U.S. team's 5-0 victory over Costa Rica on Wednesday night to open the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Brian Vickers is expected to replace injured driver Tony Stewart for the NASCAR season opener at Daytona International Speedway, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a Friday news conference to discuss its plans for the No. 14 Chevrolet. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is awaiting word from NASCAR on whether Vickers is medically cleared to race.
Vickers ran only two races last season before having a recurrence of blood clots. He can't compete when being treated for the clots because the blood thinners increase his risk of serious internal bleeding if he crashes.
Stewart is sidelined for the start of his final NASCAR season with a fractured vertebra.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams died at a hospital from injuries suffered in a car crash, police said.
The 44-year-old Ingrid Williams was involved in a crash Tuesday night. An oncoming car crossed the center line and hit her SUV just outside of downtown Oklahoma City, said police Capt. Paco Valderrama. That driver was pronounced dead at the scene, Valderrrama said.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Sacramento Kings coach George Karl said he has a positive outlook after meeting with team general manager Vlade Divac amid a losing streak and speculation about his job.
Karl said before the Kings-76ers game in Philadelphia that he and Divac are on the same page. Sacramento is 21-31 and has lost eight of its last nine. After Wednesday's game, Karl said the team would go home for the All-Star break to ''regroup and recuperate.''
Divac said in a statement that Karl ''is our coach and we're collectively working through our issues.''
NEW YORK (AP) - Lisa Borders is the new WNBA President. Borders, who helped bring the Dream to Atlanta in 2008 as the city's vice mayor, will become the league's fourth president. The move comes three months after former president Laurel J. Richie stepped down.
Borders inherits a league that will begin its 20th season in May. Despite its exciting playoffs, the WNBA had its lowest average attendance in league history during the regular season. Some of that was due to San Antonio moving arenas while its normal home court was being renovated and Tulsa announcing it was moving to Dallas in 2016.
EMBU, Kenya (AP) - Two Kenyan athletes serving four-year bans for doping at the 2015 world championships say the chief executive of Athletics Kenya, the country's governing body for track and field, asked them each for a $24,000 bribe to reduce their suspensions.
Joy Sakari, a 400-meter runner, and Francisca Koki Manunga, a hurdler, told The Associated Press that CEO Isaac Mwangi asked for the payment in an Oct. 16 meeting, but that they could not raise the money. They were informed of their four-year bans in a Nov. 27 email, but never filed a criminal complaint because, they say, they had no proof to back up their bribery accusation and also feared repercussions.
Mwangi dismissed the allegation as ''just a joke,'' denied ever meeting privately with the athletes and said Athletics Kenya has no power to shave time off athletes' bans.
North Carolina Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams is expected to be at the team's next practice and game following a bout with vertigo that sidelined him for part of Tuesday's win at Boston College.
Athletics spokesman Steve Kirschner said that the ninth-ranked Tar Heels had a previously scheduled day off and would return to practice Thursday ahead of a weekend home game against Pittsburgh. He said Williams was back in his office Wednesday afternoon and the coach's regularly scheduled Friday news conference in Chapel Hill is still on as well.
TORONTO (AP) - AL MVP Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays completed their agreement on a $28.65 million, two-year contract. Donaldson receives $11.65 million this year and $17 million in 2017 under the deal.
Toronto and Donaldson had been scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing next week. The 30-year-old third baseman, acquired from Oakland in November 2014, made the AL All-Star team for the second straight season in 2015. He led the majors with 122 runs, topped the AL with 123 RBIs, and hit .297 with 41 home runs to help the Blue Jays reach the playoffs for the first time since winning consecutive World Series in 1992 and `93.
DETROIT (AP) - J.D. Martinez and the Detroit Tigers finalized their $18.5 million, two-year contract, a deal that avoided salary arbitration. Martinez will earn $6.75 million this year and $11.75 million in 2017. The 28-year-old outfielder can become a free agent after the 2017 World Series.
He batted .282 with 38 home runs and 102 RBIs last season. He hit 23 homers in 2014 after he was released by Houston during spring training and the Tigers signed him.
HOUSTON (AP) - Houston designated hitter Evan Gattis underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Gattis had the surgery on Tuesday and will be out four to six weeks. He will join the Astros on time for spring training and rehabilitate with the team's medical staff in Florida. In his first year with the Astros last season, he led the team with 27 homers and 88 RBIs, both career highs. His big season helped Houston to its first playoff appearance since 2005.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Ozzie Guillen, who led the Chicago White Sox to the 2005 World Series title, was hired to manage the La Guaira Sharks of the Venezuelan Winter League next offseason. The 52-year-old, who was born in Ocumare del Tuy, has not had a managing job since the Miami Marlins fired him in 2012 at the end of his first season.
FRISCO, Texas (AP) - Alex Morgan scored 12 seconds in and added another goal in the 62nd minute and the U.S. women's team opened CONCACAF qualifying for the Rio Olympics with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica.
Morgan's goal was the fastest in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying history, and the team said it is believed to be the fastest in U.S. history.
The match was the Americans' first competitive game since winning the World Cup.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Outgoing Southern California athletic director Pat Haden became faint on campus and was hospitalized to undergo tests.
Sports information director Tim Tessalone said the 63-year-old administrator was in stable condition and resting comfortably. No details on the type of testing were provided. Tessalone said Haden plans to return soon to watch the university's sports teams in person.
CLEVELAND (AP) - Browns linebacker Armonty Bryant was indicted on two felony drug charges.
Bryant and former teammate De'Ante Saunders were arrested on Christmas following a traffic stop. Police say they found marijuana, prescription drugs and a loaded handgun in Saunders' car. He also was cited for drunken driving. The Browns released him from their practice squad.
Bryant was suspended by former general manager Ray Farmer for Cleveland's final two games. The 25-year-old remains on the Browns' roster.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants have started to restructure their roster for their first season under coach Ben McAdoo.
The team announced Wednesday that linebacker Jon Beason has retired and that offensive linemen Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz have been released. All three players finished the season on injured reserve, with Beatty missing the entire season.
HALEIWA, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii's big wave surf competition was called off when the 40-foot swells predicted failed to materialize, event spokeswoman Jodi Wilmott said.
The competition was last held six years ago, when swells met organizers' strict minimums. The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau event began in 1984, but there have only been eight times conditions have been ripe for the competition. Aikau is a Native Hawaiian surfer famous for riding monster waves and saving hundreds of lives as Waimea Bay's first official lifeguard.