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Woods discusses his return

Tiger Woods, who hasn’t played since March 9 and had microdiscectomy surgery March 31, returns to action Thursday at the Quicken Loans National in Bethesda, Md., with big hopes — and with no lower-back pain.

Asked for an opening comment Tuesday on where he is with his recovery, Woods smiled and said, “I’m right here.”

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Woods added, “It’s been an interesting road. This has been quite a tedious little process, but been one where I got to a point where I can play competitive golf again. And it’s pretty exciting.”

Fourteen-time major winner Woods said the British Open, which starts July 17 at Royal Liverpool in England, was his target all along.

Woods, 38, said he might not be playing the Quicken Loans National — this is the first year for a new title sponsor — if it did not benefit his foundation.

It will have been 109 days without PGA Tour competition when he tees it up Thursday. Woods jokingly said he broke 50 for nine holes when he played near his home, just as he did when he was 3.

“My prime is coming up,” he said.


Crosby picks up MVP award

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won his second Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player and accepted at an awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

Crosby also collected the Art Ross Trophy as the league scoring champion and the Ted Lindsay Award as the players’ choice for the most outstanding player.

Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask won the Vezina Trophy, and Bruins teammate Patrice Bergeron won his second Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward.

Chicago’s Duncan Keith won his second Norris Trophy as top defenseman.

Colorado coach Patrick Roy won the Adams Award, while Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, 18, became the youngest player to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.

Quick has wrist operation

Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick will be off the ice for up to three months after having wrist surgery.

Quick, 28, was injured during the Kings’ second-round series victory over the Anaheim Ducks, but kept playing while Los Angeles proceeded to win its second Stanley Cup in three years.


Pouncey has hip surgery

Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, the lone returning starter in the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line, is expected to miss the start of the season recovering from hip surgery.

Pouncey, 24, was injured during offseason workouts and underwent surgery Monday that will likely sideline him for at least a couple of games in September.

Pouncey also faces a possible suspension from the league. He is the only player implicated in last year’s bullying scandal still on the Dolphins’ roster.

College football

Utah QB Wilson is cleared

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson has been cleared to play, months after a concussion revealed a pre-existing medical condition last season.

Wilson previously had been cleared to participate in spring practice, but he was limited to noncontact drills as a precautionary measure.

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior has started 16 games over two seasons and will enter fall camp at No. 1 on the team’s depth chart.


• A judge scheduled a tentative May 28 trial date for ex-New England tight end Aaron Hernandez in the 2012 drive-by shootings of two men, and his lawyers asked for a gag order to be issued because of intense media coverage of the murder case.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after a random nightclub encounter in Boston.

Tracy Smith, who led Indiana to back-to-back Big Ten baseball championships and to the Hoosiers’ first College World Series appearance last year, has been hired as Arizona State’s coach.

Smith, 48, replaces Tim Esmay, who resigned after going 201-94-1 in five seasons with the Sun Devils.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 16 points to help Washington end a four-game WNBA losing streak by beating host San Antonio 81-70.

• Keeneland will host its first Breeders’ Cup in October 2015.

The Lexington, Ky., horse-racing track was one of two new Breeders’ Cup sites announced. The other is Del Mar, near San Diego, which will host the event in 2017.

Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., site of this year’s Breeders’ Cup, will host for the ninth time in 2016.

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