Tuesday’s Sports In Brief
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Wearing No. 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant, Joel Embiid scored 24 points in his first game in three weeks, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 115-104 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Embiid and the rest of the Sixers wore No. 24 and No. 8 Bryant jerseys in warmups in honor of the Los Angeles Lakers star, who was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash. Embiid was granted permission from Hall of Famer Bobby Jones to wear the retired No. 24 instead of his usual 21 for his first game since he tore a ligament in a finger in his left hand.
The Sixers went 6-3 without Embiid, the first Sixer to be voted to three straight All-Star Games since Allen Iverson.
Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons had “Mamba Forever” and “RIP Gigi” (for Bryant’s daughter, among the nine killed in the crash) on each sneaker and scored 17 points.
NEW YORK (AP) — NFL teams paid more than a half-billion dollars to Week 1 starters who missed games because of injuries this season and players who ended the year on injured reserve, according to an Associated Press study.
And the players sidelined the most in a league devoted more and more to speed: the fastest guys on the field, wide receivers.
While much of the recent focus has been on protecting high-priced quarterbacks and limiting head injuries — concussions were up slightly over last year — keeping wideouts and the defenders who try to stop them healthy has occupied most of the NFL’s medical personnel. Cornerbacks and safeties were second and third on the list.
The NFL keeps tweaking rules and tracking data from players in trying to keep them healthier. But concussions rose to 145 this year, 10 more than in 2018. The AP’s analysis found concussions cost more in terms of salary and salary-cap hits on average, ahead of knee, neck and ankle injuries.
More than 60% of injuries this season came in the lower extremities, with knees No. 1, according to the injury information released by the NFL last Thursday. The league has a task force studying those injuries to better prevent them.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman, who became one of the NFL’s most feared pass rushers during 15 seasons in the league, has died. He was 58.
The Minnesota Vikings and Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker offered their condolences in separate statements late Tuesday night. There was no word on the cause or timing of Doleman’s death, but he had surgery in January 2018 to remove a brain tumor.
Doleman played college ball for Pittsburgh before he was selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 1985 NFL draft. He spent his first nine seasons with the Vikings, collecting a league-high 21 sacks in 1989.
The 6-foot-5 Doleman also played for Atlanta and San Francisco before finishing his career with Minnesota in 1999. He collected 150 1/2 sacks in 232 games. He was a first-team All-Pro selection on two occasions, and also made eight Pro Bowls.
FOXBOR0UGH, Mass. (AP) — New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, the league’s longest-tenured coach with the same team, has retired.
Considered one of the best O-line coaches in NFL history, he spent 34 seasons with the Patriots and 36 in the league.
Scarnecchia left the game in 2014 and 2015 but returned to New England in 2016. He had other hiatuses from the Patriots after being hired in 1982, moving to the Indianapolis Colts with coach Ron Meyer in 1989 for two years. He then went back to the Patriots.
In all, he worked under six head coaches, including Hall of Famer Bill Parcells.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns have a new general manager, and they don’t any need time to get to know him.
Andrew Berry was named Cleveland’s GM and executive vice president, returning to the team after a one-year stint in the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office. Berry was the Browns’ vice president of player personnel from 2016-18, when the team went 1-31 over two seasons and was mired in dysfunction.
But owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam believe in Berry and will now align him with new coach Kevin Stefanski, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator hired earlier this month. Berry’s five-year contract was reported by The Associated Press and others on Monday.
Berry will be re-introduced at a news conference on Feb. 5 at the team’s facility in Berea.
The 32-year-old Berry is the NFL’s youngest GM and the second African American in that position. He joins Miami’s Chris Grier as the only minority GMs in a league that has been widely condemned for its hiring practices.
HOUSTON (AP) — Dusty Baker is working to finalize an agreement to become manager of the Houston Astros, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been completed.
The 70-year-old Baker becomes the oldest manager in the big leagues. He takes over from AJ Hinch, who was fired Jan. 13 just an hour after he was suspended for the season by Major League Baseball for his role in Houston’s sign-stealing scandal.
Baker’s hiring is a sign the AL champions want to bring an old-school mentality and stern presence to a franchise reeling from the dismissal of Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. Baker has 22 years of managerial experience, starting in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants.
A three-time National League Manager of the Year, Baker last managed the Washington Nationals, who let him go after a 97-65 season in 2017.