By a torn pectoral muscle that is expected to cost him at least five months and perhaps even the entire 2010 season, Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (above), whose NFL-leading 17 sacks in '09 set a franchise record. The 26-year-old Dumervil, who in July signed a five-year, $58.3 million extension (with $43.1 million guaranteed against injury), was participating in a one-on-one drill on Aug. 4 when he sustained the injury. His absence leaves the Broncos, who ranked third against the pass in '09, with only one player who has amassed as many as four sacks in an NFL season: sixth-year linebacker Darrell Reid, who has missed camp thus far with a knee injury. "We're not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves," said coach Josh McDaniels. "They're not going to write at the end of the season, 'Our record was such and such, and Elvis Dumervil had an injury in training camp.' They're just going to tell you what our record was."
As a consultant by the Knicks, the very team he steered into ruin, Hall of Fame guard Isiah Thomas. As club president from 2003 through '08 (including the final two seasons as head coach), Thomas oversaw a franchise marred by overspending and on-court malaise. The net result of his moves was a 151--259 five-year record, third-worst in the NBA during that span. Off the court he was the defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit that cost Knicks ownership $11.6 million. Last week Thomas maintained that he'd been under contract with the club since being dismissed from his post in '08. (In July the Knicks had Thomas deliver a last-ditch plea to then free agent LeBron James.) Thomas's latest pact calls for him to consult for G.M. Donnie Walsh on draft picks, trades and personnel moves, but first Thomas needs the NBA's approval. He is still the coach at D-I Florida International, which violates an NBA rule against contact with amateurs.
August 15, 2010
For the first time in two years, double-world-record holder Usain Bolt, who last Saturday finished second in the 100 meters behind American Tyson Gay at the DN Galan meet in Stockholm. Sprinting alongside Bolt, who won gold in the 100 and 200 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and who also was victorious in both races at the '09 world championship in Berlin, Gay appeared the more comfortable of the pair (near right), finishing in 9.84 seconds. Bolt crossed the finish line 0.13 seconds later, placing him second at the same venue where he last was defeated, by fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell (who sat out with a back injury). Afterward Bolt admitted that he wasn't in top shape but promised to improve as the '11 championship year approached. "If you didn't beat me this season," he said, "it's not going to happen next season."
By the Celtics, 15-time NBA All-Star Shaquille O'Neal. On Aug. 4 the 18-year veteran agreed to a two-year deal, believed to be worth $3 million, to play in Boston, where his 325-pound frame will help the size-strapped Celtics chase an 18th NBA championship. (A title would be Shaq's fifth.) The 38-year-old joins an array of grizzled green-clad stars: forwards Paul Pierce, 32, and Kevin Garnett, 34, and guard Ray Allen, 35. After agreeing to wear jersey number 36 on his fourth team in as many seasons, the big man moved on to more pressing issues on Twitter. "Hello green town," he posted. "What u got 4 nicknames?" Among the early suggestions: the Green Monster, the Big Shamrock, Red Auershaq and Shaqchusetts.
Of extortion, lying to the FBI and retaliating against a witness, Karen Sypher. After an eight-day trial Sypher, 50, was found guilty last Thursday of demanding millions of dollars from Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino in exchange for keeping quiet about the pair's sexual encounter at an Italian restaurant in 2003. The verdict allows for as many as 26 years in prison when the Louisville native is sentenced by a judge on Oct. 27. The 57-year-old Pitino, a married father of five, acknowledged in court the "unfortunate" sexual encounter (which he said lasted "15 seconds") and detailed Sypher's demands. According to the coach, in February 2009 he began receiving phone calls and eventually got two notes conveying threats to bring the tryst to light if he didn't provide Sypher with gifts, including cars, tuition for her children and mortgage money. "This was nothing more than a pure shakedown," said assistant U.S. attorney Marisa Ford.
For an overhaul, Kansas's official fight song, I'm a Jayhawk, which references the school's soon-to-be-departed Big 12 conference rivals Nebraska and Colorado. The ditty, penned in 1912 by KU graduate George (Dumpy) Bowles, has been altered once before, in 1958, to omit mentions of Oklahoma A&M (since renamed Oklahoma State) and Haskell Indian Nations College. Now, with Nebraska headed to the Big Ten in 2011 and Colorado bound for the Pac-10 in '12, the school is looking to rejigger lyrics that refer to "the Buffs" and "those Cornhuskin' boys," and which include the line "husk some corn and listen to the Cornhusker's wail." Says KU Alumni Association president Kevin Corbett, whose office is holding a contest to find new lyrics, "It's not meant to be belligerent to Nebraska or Colorado for leaving the conference. It's just keeping up with the times."
Raiders rookie defensive end, on agreeing to the team's request that he work out at fullback:
THEY SAID IT
"If I've got to block for President Obama, if it's going to help the Raiders win, then that's what I've got to do."
Career points for Tina Thompson after the Sparks forward scored 23 on Sunday in a 92--83 loss to the Silver Stars, making her the leading scorer in WNBA history. (Lisa Leslie, now retired, had 6,263.)
Pitchers tagged for six homers in one game after Rays righty James Shields allowed a half-dozen Blue Jays dingers last Saturday.
Batters to have four hits and two home runs in their major league debut after Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia's barrage last Saturday. The only other: Charlie Reilly of the 1889 Columbus Solons.
Consecutive wins by the Orioles under Buck Showalter, who took over the 32--73 club on Aug. 3. No manager had won even his first three games after inheriting a team that was at least 30 games below .500.
Consecutive world horseshoes championships won by Alan Francis after the American rung up a victory last Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
American men in the ATP's top 10, the first time in the tennis rankings' 37-year span that no Yank appears.