Wednesday Sports in Brief

NBA

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry is scheduled to return from a more than four-month absence with a broken left hand to play for Golden State against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night.

The Warriors announced Wednesday night that Curry had been medically cleared to play and would be in the lineup Thursday in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals won in six games by Toronto. The two-time NBA MVP missed 58 games after falling on his left hand Oct. 30 versus Phoenix.

He practiced Monday with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors, then was recalled back to the NBA team later in the day in a most expected promotion.

Curry, who turns 32 on March 14, had hoped to return last Sunday against Washington but his timeline wasn’t too far delayed. He is averaging 20.3 points, 6.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds over just four games this season.

MLB

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball has proposed banning player access to video during games, according to New York Yankees pitcher Zack Britton, but the union wants to allow it with protections that would prevent catchers’ signs from being visible.

Players’ association head Tony Clark met with the Yankees for three hours Wednesday and discussed negotiations for new video rules in the wake of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.

“Right now, MLB’s proposal would be like a blackout. There would be no access,” Britton said. “That’s a pretty extreme stance because of one team, that everyone else is punished. So, hopefully, we can find some common ground, but definitely before opening day. Guys would like to understand what we’re going to be allowed to use and what we’re not going to be allowed to use before opening day.”

Houston violated rules by using a camera in the outfield to steal catchers’ signs during its run to the 2017 World Series title and again in 2018. The team was fined $5 million, manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one season and the team was stripped of draft picks. Hinch and Luhnow were fired by the team, but no players were disciplined.

MLB also is investigating whether Boston broke rules.

NHL

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — The NHL is not allowing its employees to make work-related trips outside of North America in response to the global fears over the coronavirus, and if any of those employees go on their own to a country where the virus has been found they will be quarantined before being able to return to work.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday the league has told its 31 teams they were free to adopt a similar policy, though he stopped short of saying it would be a mandate as concerns of the virus continue to grow.

That even applies to those who work for the NHL’s central scouting service: Scouts who are in Europe are staying in Europe, and if they return to North America they will be quarantined. Bettman said the NHL is in regular communication with the other three major North American sports leagues, as well as health experts in both the U.S. and Canada.

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Ottawa Senators fired CEO Jim Little on Wednesday less than two months after he took the job, saying his conduct was “inconsistent” with the core values of the team and the NHL.

The 55-year-old Little said in a statement to media outlets that the reasons for his dismissal were simply the result of a heated disagreement with owner Eugene Melnyk.

Little was most recently executive vice president and chief marketing and culture officer for Shaw Communications. He also has held executive roles at Royal Bank of Canada, Bell Canada and Bombardier Aerospace.

The club says a new CEO will be announced in the next few weeks.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk needed 90 stitches to his eyelid after being hit in the face with a skate but suffered no damage to his eye, president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said Wednesday.

Boychuk was cut Tuesday night when he was hit by Artturi Lehkonen’s skate as the Montreal Canadiens left wing fell forward.

“He’ll be fine,” Lamoriello said. “It’s just a matter of time with the eye opening up and him feeling good.”

There is no timetable on his return.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Memphis’ NCAA case involving the recruitment of star basketball player James Wiseman will go through the association’s new independent investigation arm.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that Memphis’ infraction case was referred to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process. This will be the first known case to be handled by the IARP.

The University of Memphis released a statement acknowledging its case had been referred to the IARP.

The NCAA suspended Wiseman 12 games early this season because the former five-star recruit’s family received $11,500 from former Memphis player and current Tigers coach Penny Hardaway to assist in a move from Nashville to Memphis in the summer of 2017.

Although Hardaway wasn’t Memphis’ coach at the time, the NCAA ruled the payment wasn’t allowed because he was a booster for the program. The former NBA All-Star gave $1 million in 2008 to his alma mater for the university’s sports hall of fame.

NASCAR

NASCAR will hit the road for its first race in 2021, part of a schedule shakeup that starts at Daytona International Speedway.

The track announced several changes to the start of the annual racing season Wednesday. They include running the exhibition Busch Clash on the 3.56-mile road course that winds through the Daytona infield and packing seven races as well as Daytona 500 pole qualifying into a six-day span.

The tweaks eliminate two traditional “dark days” at the track during Speedweeks and should provide a better fan experience leading into NASCAR’s premier event, the Daytona 500.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

SEATTLE (AP) — Missouri-Kansas City has joined Chicago State in canceling a trip to Seattle for a regularly scheduled Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball game this week over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, the conference announced Wednesday.

UMKC was scheduled to play Seattle University on Saturday but the conference said the school has canceled that trip. Chicago State announced Tuesday night it was canceling its men’s basketball road trip to Seattle and Utah Valley, and said its women’s team would not host two games against those same schools.

The cancellations are believed to be the first by a major sport in the United States due to the virus.

MILAN (AP) — All sporting events in Italy will take place without fans present for at least the next month due to the virus outbreak in the country, the Italian government announced on Wednesday.

That will likely see the Italian soccer league resume in full this weekend with the calendar pushed back a week.

Italy is the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak. More than 100 people have died and more than 3,000 have been infected with COVID-19.

The Italian government issued a new decree on Wednesday evening, with measures it hopes will help contain the spread of the virus.

All sporting events throughout the country must take place without fans present until April 3. Schools and universities have been ordered to close until March 15.

HORSE RACING

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The Breeders’ Cup is increasing purses for three of its races, including a $1 million boost that will make the signature Classic worth $7 million starting with this year’s event at Keeneland.

The board of directors approved a $2 million boost that will make the Turf worth a total purse of $6 million and a $1 million increase to the Dirt Mile that will raise its purse to $2 million. The board also approved paying runners down to the 10th finishing position from the current eighth position.

The increases bring the total purses and awards for the two-day world championships to $35 million. It will be held Nov. 6-7.

Starting with this year’s event, the Breeders’ Cup will adopt six recommendations from Dr. Larry Bramlage involving safety and veterinary evaluation protocols.

COURTS

DETROIT (AP) — A man who was a college wrestler in the 1980s sued the University of Michigan on Wednesday, alleging that a school doctor molested him dozens of times despite the university knowing that he was a threat to athletes.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit is the first since victims of late Dr. Robert E. Anderson began to emerge a few weeks ago. The man, identified only as John Doe, accused the university of failing to remove the doctor despite complaints about him.

Doe said he was a student from 1984 to 1989. Anderson was a team physician for various sports at the University of Michigan from 1966 until his retirement in 2003. He died in 2008.

“One illustrative incident is when plaintiff scratched his arm while wrestling on the mat during a summer training session, and he was told by leadership to see Anderson about the bleeding,” the lawsuit states.

“During his appointment for his arm, Anderson told plaintiff to drop his pants, and Anderson sexually assaulted, abused and molested” him, according to the lawsuit.