BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Thursday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EST:

– MELBOURNE, Australia – Lleyton Hewitt is sent off to retirement at the Australian Open with a second-round loss to David Ferrer. Advancing are Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Garbine Muguruza.

– TEMPE, Ariz. – Dwight Freeney was contemplating retirement in October when he took a call from the Cardinals and was coaxed back to the NFL. He brings leadership, experience and a furious pass rush.

– CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Cam Newton shows unerring calm, no matter the situation. The Carolina Panthers quarterback says he simply doesn't get nervous.

– ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Gronk pushes off; Brady whines to officials. Before the Broncos play the Patriots for the AFC championship title, they play some mind games.

– BUFFALO, N.Y. – Kathryn Smith is in new territory. She is the NFL's first full-time female coach, promoted by Rex Ryan to be the Bills' special teams quality control coach.

– Aaron Rodgers never touched the ball in overtime after his amazing Hail Mary. He also set off yet another wave of calls for the NFL to follow college football's lead and give both teams a chance to score in OT.

– CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Baseball owners hold their last meeting before the likely start of collective bargaining, where revenue sharing, the luxury tax and an international amateur draft are key items.

– LOS ANGELES – Friday marks the 10th anniversary of Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance against Toronto, the second-highest-scoring game in NBA history.

– NEW YORK – Kobe Bryant could be the leading vote-getter for his final All-Star Game when the NBA announces the starters for next month's game in Toronto. Announcement about 7:15 p.m.

– PHOENIX – The Spurs go after their 12th straight victory when they face a Phoenix Suns team that has lost five straight and 14 of its last 15 games.

– TAMPA, Fla. – The Chicago Blackhawks go for a franchise-record 13th straight victory when they face the Lightning in a Stanley Cup final rematch. Tampa Bay has won six in a row. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

– LA QUINTA, Calif. – Phil Mickelson opens play in the CareerBuilder Challenge, his first start since the Presidents Cup in October. Mickelson is winless since the 2013 British Open.

– ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – American amateur Bryson DeChambeau is in front after the opening round of the Abu Dhabi Championship. Rory McIlroy trails by two shots and Jordan Spieth by four.

– ST. PAUL, Minn. – Ashley Wagner opens her title defense when the U.S. Figure Skating Championships begin with the women's and pairs short programs. Pairs starts 3:45 p.m.; women at 9 p.m.

– CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Tony Stewart begins preparations for his final season racing in NASCAR. The 44-yeear-old driver is a three-time Sprint Cup Series champion.