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Webber denies indictment charges

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Sacramento Kings All-Star forward Chris Webber denied Tuesday that he lied to a grand jury, charges on which he was indicted and appears ready to fight.


Wearing a suit and tie and sweating profusely - from an afternoon workout, he said - Webber stood at a podium and appeared to refer to a sheet of paper he was holding. He did not answer questions.

"I did not lie to the grand jury," Webber maintained. "I will fight this case to the end and feel that I will be vindicated."

Monday, Webber was indicted on charges centering around his contact with a former basketball booster at the University of Michigan. He was charged with making false statements to a grand jury and with obstructing justice. Webber testified before a grand jury in July 2000.


Webber's father, Mayce, and his aunt, Charlene Johnson, also were charged in the case. If found guilty of all charges, Chris Webber faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie indicated he was not concerned with Webber's potential legal troubles affecting his focus on basketball, including the possibility of a trial.

The indictment alleges that Ed Martin distributed or loaned cash from his illegal gambling business to high school or college athletes and their families. Webber, his father and his aunt are alleged to have concealed cash, checks, clothing, jewelry and other benefits. Martin, 68, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. He admitted he took gambling money and loaned it to at least four Michigan basketball players while they were amateurs.

Martin said he paid $280,000 to Webber and also gave money to Robert Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock.

In his statement, Webber said the case is about a "60- or 65-year-old man" who was "preying on our innocence."

Webber, 29, played two seasons at Michigan and led the Wolverines to championship game appearances in 1992 and 1993. He was the first pick of the 1993 NBA draft. The 1994 Rookie of the Year and a four-time All-Star, Webber has spent the last four seasons in Sacramento after stints in Washington and Golden State. He helped the Kings reach the Western Conference finals this past spring.


NASCAR fines Rudd for garage fight

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- NASCAR fined Ricky Rudd and Robert Yates Racing teammate Larry Lackey and placed both on probation Tuesday for their roles in a fight following Saturday night's race in Richmond, Va.

The incident occured after Rudd finished seventh in the Winston Cup Series Chevy Monte Carlo 400. Rudd was fined $5,000 and Lackey $10,000. Both were placed on probation until Dec. 31.

Rudd and Lackey were penalized under Section 12-4-A of the Winston Cup series rule book for "Actions detrimental to stock car racing: involved in an altercation with a team member." Lackey, a crew member, also was penalized for fighting.

"In every fight there has to be an aggressor and a retaliator," Winston Cup Series director John Darby said. "The incident between Larry and Ricky took place in the garage area and we as a sanctioning body govern the pits and garage. We will not tolerate people hitting each other in those areas."

Rudd has earned over $3 million on the circuit this season and is ninth in the Winston Cup standings. He collected his 23rd career win earlier this year at the Dodge/Save Mart 350.


Kafelnikov barely survives at Tashkent

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Yevgeny Kafelnikov, a finalist last year, came close to becoming a first-round casualty Tuesday at the $550,000 President's Cup.

The third-seeded Russian saved three match points and overcame 37 aces from German Alexander Waske to post a 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (8-6) victory.

Marat Safin of Russia and Tommy Haas of Germany, the top two seeds, also reached the second round.

Kafelnikov, who suffered a disappointing second-round exit at the U.S. Open, won despite Waske's overwhelming serve. Waske recorded the most aces in a three-set match on the ATP Tour this year and the third highest total all-time. Only Mark Philippoussis' 44 at Kuala Lumpur in 1995 and Goran Ivanisevic's 40 at Zagreb in 1997 have bettered Waske's figure.

Kafelnikov next faces Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

The two-time defending champion and No. 1 seed here, Safin cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 win over French qualifier Gregory Carraz. Looking for his first title in 2002, the 22-year-old Safin next goes up against Slovakia's Karol Beck.

The second-seeded Haas did not have as easy an outing but the 24-year-old rallied past Swiss wild card Marc Rosset, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3. Haas encounters another tricky opponent in the next round in Sargis Sargsian. The Armenian, who upset the 16th-seeded David Nalbandian at the U.S. Open, got past Bjorn Phau of Germany, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).


Leg injury may cause placekicker to retire

ASHBURN, Va., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Washington Redskins placekicker Brett Conway, who has had to deal with serious injury before, may be forced to retire because of a torn quadriceps muscle in his right leg.

Conway, 27, suffered the injury Sunday in the Redskins' season-opening win over the Arizona Cardinals. He was told at a team meeting Monday about how serious the injury was.

Steve Spurrier, who won his NFL coaching debut, already has said that Conway is headed for injured reserve, which will end his season even if his recovery allows him to kick again.

Conway, 27, has a history of quadriceps injuries and missed the Redskins' final three games of the exhibition season because of a hip flexor injury. Also, a similar injury led to his release by the team in 2000. He admits that the latest injury could end his career.

Kearse has successful foot surgery

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Veteran defensive end Jevon Kearse, one of the best and most intimidating players in the National Football League, Monday underwent surgery to repair the broken bone in his left foot.

He suffered the injury in Sunday's regular season opening victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. While chasing elusive quarterback Donovan McNabb on the Eagles' second play from scrimmage, Kearse was hurt as he hurdled teammate Henry Ford.


X-rays revealed a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in the foot. He later watched from the sideline wearing a boot on his foot and holding crutches. Later, an MRI confirmed the fracture.

Kearse's replacement, Carlos Hall, a seventh-round draft pick out of Arkansas, made an immediate impact, collecting three sacks, seven tackles and a forced fumble. Fisher indicated Hall is very likely to draw much more attention in the future.

The Titans are hoping that Kearse will play again on Oct. 27 at Cincinnati, if all goes well.

Suter to retire from Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Gary Suter, who won a Stanley Cup and an Olympic silver medal, Tuesday reportedly will announce his retirement and end his 17-year career.

Suter, 38, spent the last four seasons with the Sharks and led the team's defensemen in scoring in 2001-02 with six goals and 27 assists. Plagued by injuries during his first season in San Jose, he was one of four Sharks to play every game last season.

He also won a silver medal with the United States at the Salt Lake City Olympics, appearing in all six games and picking up an assist. One year after playing at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, Suter broke into the NHL with the Calgary Flames. He spent 8 ½ seasons there, winning a Stanley Cup in 1989.


Acquired by the Hartford Whalers on March 10, 1994, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks the next day. After four seasons with Chicago, he signed with the Sharks as a free agent but missed all but one game in 1998-99 following three elbow surgeries and a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat.

Suter twice was nominated for the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey. He totaled 203 goals and 641 assists in 1,145 NHL games.

Stars owner selling team

DALLAS, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- After winning a championship and appearing in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks says he is ready to sell the team.

Hicks, who also owns baseball's Texas Rangers, has hired J.P. Morgan Securities to explore and manage the sale of the Stars and his 50 percent interest in Center Operating Company, which operates American Airlines Center.

"As much as I love hockey and the Stars, I have met and exceeded the goals I set six years ago," Hicks said in a statement. "After much thought and private discussion with my family, I have decided this is an appropriate time to become a one-team owner rather than a two-team owner."


His announcement comes just over two months after he shelled out $45 million over five years to sign prized free agent Bill Guerin away from the Boston Bruins. In December 2000, he paid All-Star baseball shortstop Alex Rodriguez a whopping $252 million over 10 years to sign with the Rangers.

Despite possessing one of the largest payrolls in the NHL, the Stars missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1996.

Dallas won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1999, then returned to the Stanley Cup Finals the following year before losing to the New Jersey Devils in six games. Last year, the team moved from Reunion Arena to the American Airlines Center.

Torn ACL ends year for Stanford tight end

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Starting tight end Brett Pierce suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee lasr Saturday against Boston College and will be lost for the remainder of the 2002 season.

Pierce, who started his 13th consecutive game Saturday, injured his knee early in the first quarter. He will undergo surgery in the near future.

Pierce caught 19 passes last season for 258 yards and three touchdowns and was considered one of the best tight ends in the Pacific-10 Conference. The junior from Vancouver, Wash., will be eligible for a medical redshirt, meaning he still will have two years of college eligibility remaining.


La Salle coach gets contract extension

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- La Salle University Tuesday extended the contract of men's basketball coach Billy Hahn through the 2007 season.

In his inaugural campaign last season, Hahn led the Explorers to a 15-17 record and a berth in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament semifinal.

Hahn previously served as an assistant for 12 years under Gary Williams at the University of Maryland before coming to La Salle.

Sampras, Agassi not on U.S. Davis Cup team

NEW YORK, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe Tuesday announced that Todd Martin and Mardy Fish will join Andy Roddick and James Blake next week in its semifinal tie at France on Sept. 20.

Sampras won his 14th career Grand Slam crown Sunday, beating Andre Agassi, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the title match at the U.S. Open. Sampras played for the U.S. in its quarterfinal tie with Spain in April and lost to Alex Corretja, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, before Roddick clinched the win for the Americans with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 rout of Alberto Martin.

"We've got obviously the youth movement and the old war horse in Todd Martin, who has always been there, is looking forward to taking the doubles court and, who knows, singles if necessary," McEnroe said. "We're certainly excited about going over to Paris and accepting this challenge."


Roddick, who turned 20 on Aug. 30, is 7-0 in Davis Cup singles matches, which is the best start by any American Davis Cup player since Agassi won his first seven Davis Cup singles matches in 1988-89.

The United States has won a record 31 Davis Cup titles, but its last came in 1995. That year, Sampras accounted for all three points in a 3-2 victory over Russia in Moscow.

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