Feb. 6 Sports Briefs

American bobsled driver undergoes emergency surgery

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — American bobsled pilot Justin Olsen hopes to compete at the Olympics despite having had a successful appendectomy on the eve of the Pyeongchang Games.

U.S. bobsled officials said Tuesday that Olsen, who is from San Antonio, Texas, went to a hospital in the coastal city of Gangneung on Monday and is trying to recover so he can compete in events starting Feb. 18.

USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele says officials are “heartbroken for Justin, but he’s shown us over the years that he’s capable of overcoming adversity.”

Officials say they’re discussing options if Olsen can’t race.

Pyeongchang is Olsen’s third Olympics. He was on the four-man gold-medal winning team at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

32 Russian athletes file appeals to compete in Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Court of Arbitration for Sport says six-time Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn is among 32 Russian athletes who have filed appeals seeking spots at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The 32 athletes all failed to pass the mandatory International Olympic Committee vetting for Russian athletes — imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Olympics — and weren’t invited to the Games.

As well as short-track speedskating legend Ahn, the 32 include world cross-country skiing champion Sergei Ustyugov and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin.

The IOC hasn’t said why any of the individual Russians weren’t invited, but has said it used a newly available database detailing past doping when it decided who should be eligible.

A hearing is likely Wednesday, CAS says.

Harris nets 27 points as Nuggets beat Hornets 121-104

DENVER (AP) — Gary Harris scored 27 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Denver beat Charlotte 121-104.

Will Barton and Jamal Murray scored 18 apiece for Denver, which had seven players in double figures. Murray played 34 minutes and attempted a game-high 15 shots while playing with a bruised right thigh sustained Saturday against Golden State.

The Nuggets used a big third quarter to pull away and win their third in a row. Jokic had 10 points and six rebounds in the period and Murray scored eight points in 1:03 to start a 14-6 run that gave Denver a 97-79 lead.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 20 points and Dwight Howard had 19 points and seven rebounds. The Hornets had won three straight and four of six.

Pistons stay unbeaten with Griffin, rip Blazers 111-91

DETROIT (AP) — Andre Drummond had 17 points and 17 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons beat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-91 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.

Detroit has won three in a row with Blake Griffin in the lineup after acquiring him in a trade last week. The victory Monday pulled the Pistons back to .500 and even with Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Griffin had 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and did a good bit of his offensive damage from the perimeter, making three 3-pointers. Anthony Tolliver added 15 points for Detroit, and Reggie Bullock and Langston Galloway contributed 13 apiece.

Damian Lillard scored 20 points and C.J. McCollum added 14 for the Blazers, who lost again after falling at the buzzer at Boston on Sunday. Portland was without Evan Turner on Monday because of a left calf injury.

NFL: Tom Brady wins 3rd Most Valuable Player award

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — For the third time, Tom Brady is the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

Brady added The Associated Press 2017 NFL MVP award Saturday night at NFL Honors to his wins in 2007 and 2010. The New England Patriots quarterback was joined as an honoree by three Los Angeles Rams: Coach of the Year Sean McVay, Offensive Player of the Year running back Todd Gurley and Defensive Player of the Year tackle Aaron Donald.

Other winners in voting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league were Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen as Comeback Player; New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara and cornerback Marshon Lattimore as top offensive and defensive rookies, respectively; and former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, now head coach of the New York Giants, as Assistant Coach of the Year.

Brady is the second player in the four major professional sports to win MVP at age 40; Barry Bonds won baseball’s award in 2004.

Lewis, Moss, Owens, Urlacher highlight 8-person NFL Hall class

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher terrorized opposing offenses from the middle of the field. Randy Moss and Terrell Owens did the same to defenses on the outside.

The two hard-hitting linebackers and two big-play receivers highlighted an eight-person class voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. 

Safety Brian Dawkins also received at least 80 percent support from the 47 Hall of Fame voters, along with contributor Bobby Beathard and senior nominees Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile.

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