Thursday’s Sports In Brief


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr will take a leave of absence as he recovers from back surgery and will be replaced on an interim basis by Luke Walton.

The Warriors announced Kerr will need time off for rehabilitation and recovery. Kerr underwent back surgery to repair a ruptured disc in late July and had follow-up surgery in September.

The Warriors said they don’t know yet how long Kerr will be out.

Kerr originally tweaked his back during the NBA Finals last June. He had planned to take a back seat during training camp and said after the first practice that he had only been cleared to ”walk around and yell at people, talk to the press.”


NEW YORK (AP) – CC Sabathia stood near his locker in the back of the oval Yankees clubhouse while excited teammates celebrated New York’s return to the postseason.

With some help from the one of the old guard, the next generation of Yankees will have a chance to make their mark in the playoffs.

Ending a rare two-year absence from the postseason, New York clinched a wild-card berth with three games to spare by beating the Boston Red Sox 4-1 for the franchise’s 10,000th regular-season win.

Putting behind the venerated teams of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, New York (87-72) opens its 52nd postseason with a winner-take-all game on Tuesday. The Yankees most likely will face Houston (84-75) – which leads the race for the second wild card – or the Angels or Minnesota (83-76), tied a game behind the Astros.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – The music was a little louder in the Texas clubhouse, and there was the faint smell of champagne.

Otherwise, the Rangers were still waiting on a bigger celebration – for winning the AL West.

Texas clinched a wild-card spot and moved to the cusp of the division title, with Adrian Beltre’s three-run double backing Derek Holland in a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

The Rangers (87-72), in the playoffs for the first time since 2012 after an AL-worst 95 losses last season, are a win or a Houston loss away from their first division title since winning two straight and going to the World Series in 2010-11.


LAS VEGAS (AP) – Hall of Famer Warren Sapp took a plea deal that spares him jail time in a Las Vegas criminal case involving a scuffle with his former girlfriend that began after margaritas at a casino hotel swimming pool.

The 42-year-old former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders defensive tackle pleaded no contest in Las Vegas Justice Court to one misdemeanor domestic violence charge, court officials said.

A judge fined Sapp $345 and ordered him to pay $2,555 in restitution, log 48 hours of community service and six months of counseling, and stay out of trouble for six months. Two other misdemeanor domestic violence charges were dismissed.

Sapp also has to stay away from the victim, prosecutor Lisa Luzaich said. He faces six months in jail if he violates terms of the deal.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Muhammad Ali won another round of love and appreciation for his achievements as a fighter in and out of the ring. He even got the hardware to prove it.

The latest celebration of the three-time world heavyweight champion and self-proclaimed ”Greatest Of All Time” featured former champions and Larry Holmes and George Foreman, two notable opponents who gladly came to honor Ali as Sports Illustrated named its Sportsman Legacy Award after him Thursday night in his Kentucky hometown.

Friends, associates, dignitaries and former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal also were on hand for the ceremony on the 40th anniversary of Ali’s third fight with Joe Frazier in the Philippines, an epic 14-round battle known as the ”Thrilla in Manila.” Ali earned his second victory over Frazier when the former champion didn’t come out for the final round, and that fight is considered one of the greatest events in boxing and sports.


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Some foreign ticket buyers for next year’s Olympics are paying higher prices than they should, failing to benefit from the steep decline in the value of the Brazilian currency against the dollar.

Rio de Janeiro organizers reached an agreement a year ago with official ticket resellers outside Brazil to an exchange rate of 2.35 Brazilian reals to the dollar.

Since then, the value of the Brazilian currency has plunged about 70 percent. The current exchange is roughly 4.00 reals to the dollar, meaning that people paying with dollars should find some bargains.

But they’re not. The fixed-exchange rate is staying put.

Brazil’s currency collapse is creating havoc for local organizers, one of many financial woes besetting the Olympics that open in 10 months.


BEIJING (AP) – The 2015 season is over for Serena Williams.

The No. 1-ranked Williams withdrew from her final two scheduled tournaments of the year, saying she needs time to heal from a series of injuries and the heartbreak of coming up short in a bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Williams hasn’t played since losing to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the U.S. Open, where she came two matches short of becoming the first player to win all four majors in the same year since Steffi Graf in 1988.

Williams pulled out of next week’s China Open in Beijing and the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore from Oct. 25-Nov. 1.


ZURICH (AP) – Michel Platini will be without his closest adviser at UEFA as he seeks the FIFA presidency while embroiled in the Swiss investigation into corruption in the global governing body.

Kevin Lamour, who heads Platini’s office, has started a pre-planned leave of absence with no date set for his return, UEFA said.

It comes as Platini pursues his campaign to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in the emergency election in February.

The deadline to pass integrity checks and be declared a candidate is Oct. 26 and Platini will be hoping the Swiss investigation does not thwart his presidential ambitions. He has not been accused of wrongdoing.