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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Dec. 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

Griffin status likely a game-day decision

ASHBURN, Va., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Whether Robert Griffin III will start at quarterback this week for Washington will likely be a decision made Sunday, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said.

Griffin was injured late in last week's game against the Baltimore Ravens, suffering what was diagnosed as a sprain of a knee ligament. Kirk Cousins, like Griffin a rookie, filled in well after Griffin's injury.

Griffin this week said he was able to move well and plant his right leg to make passes. Shanahan said his quarterback "looked more comfortable" in Thursday's workouts.

"I don't know yet," Shanahan said when asked who would start at quarterback. "We'll get a chance to see how Robert progresses during the week and we'll make a decision probably on game day."

Griffin has started all of Washington's games this season. The Redskins have won their last four games in improving to 7-6, one game behind National Football Conference East-leading New York Giants.

Washington plays at 5-8 Cleveland Sunday.


Rutgers suspends basketball coach

PISCATAWAY, N.J., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Rutgers men's basketball Coach Mike Rice has been suspended by the school for three games and fined $50,000 for use of inappropriate behavior and language.

The school didn't outline what behavior led to Rice being disciplined.

"Accountability is a vital element of the Rutgers Athletics family and it is imperative our head coaches act and lead in a responsible manner," Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti said in a statement announcing the suspicion.

Rutgers said Rice would miss home games against Alabama-Birmingham, Howard and Rider without pay and be fined $50,000.

Associate head coach David Cox will take over the team until Jan. 2, when the Scarlet Knights open Big East Conference play against No. 4-ranked Syracuse. Rutgers is 7-2 this season.

"Since becoming a coach at the age of 21, I have taken great pride in not only helping young men learn the game of basketball but also in teaching them about character, respect and hard work," Rice said in a statement released by the school.

"To the extent that my conduct has ever been in contrast with those principles, I have failed my players -- and myself -- and I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the terms of my suspension. I will learn from my mistakes and I will become a better coach, teacher and role model."

Rice is in his third season at Rutgers. He previously coached at Robert Morris for three seasons


Bourdy has Alfred Dunhill lead

MALELANE, South Africa, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Gregory Bourdy fired a bogey-free, 6-under-par 66 Thursday in taking the first-round lead at the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

Bourdy, with three birdies on each nine Thursday, is one stroke ahead of a group of six players that includes South Africans Oliver Bekker, Louis de Jager, Darren Fichardt and Charl Schwartzel along with English players Richard Bland and Steve Webster.

Four more players are at 4-under and nine others are at 3-under 69, leaving 20 players within three strokes of the lead after Thursday's play.

Bourdy opened the tournament with a birdie at the first hole and posted back-to-back birdies at Nos. 5 and 6. He added two more birdies at 11 and 12 and took the lead with a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-3, 208-yard 16th hole. Bourdy was 3-under on pars 3s on the day.

Five of the six players tied for second also went without a bogey in the first round. De Jager had a bogey at the par-3 12th but also had a string of three consecutive birdies over Nos. 6-8.


WNBA tweaks rules, 3-point line

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The WNBA announced a series of rule changes Thursday, including pushing the 3-point line to the international standard.

The WNBA said it would move the 3-point arc from the current 20-foot, 6 1/4-inch distance to 22 feet 1 3/4 inches, which is the distance used in international competition. The NCAA 3-point distance is 20 feet, 9 inches.

"We extended the line to its current distance of 20 feet, 6 1/4 inches in 2004 and our 3-point shooting percentage increased," said WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations Renee Brown.

"Since then the talent level and the athleticism of our players has only continued to increase; and with a significant percentage of our players also playing -- and excelling -- internationally, this brings us into line with the international game."

The WNBA also said it was adopting an anti-flopping rule, meant to limit attempts by players to exaggerate contact with another player to influence foul calls by game officials, and established a defensive 3-second.

The anti-flopping rule is similar to one instituted by the NBA this year. Players found guilty of flopping can be fined or, after six such violations, suspended.

The defensive 3-second rule is meant to open the middle of the lane "to allow athletic players to drive to the basket," the WNBA release stated.

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