Bryant having procedure on knee in Germany
Kobe Bryant is heading overseas to have a medical procedure unrelated to the torn Achilles tendon he suffered in April.
The Los Angeles Lakers said Thursday that Bryant is expected to return early next week.
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The Los Angeles Times cited people with knowledge of the situation as saying that Bryant was going to Germany to have a knee procedure that involves removing blood from the affected area and spinning it in a centrifuge. Molecules that cause inflammatory responses are then removed to create a serum that is injected back into the affected area.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told the Times that Bryant’s trip and ensuing procedure had been planned, and that the team had no concerns about it.
The Lakers haven’t provided a timetable on Bryant’s return from the Achilles injury.
Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a hip-flexor strain and is day to day.
The 6-foot-11 Aldridge suffered the injury during Wednesday night’s practice and did not participate in practice Thursday. His return is uncertain.
Soviet great dies at 69
Sergei Belov, the Soviet basketball great who helped his team beat the United States in the epic 1972 Olympic final in Munich, died Thursday. He was 69.
His death was announced by CSKA Moscow, the team he played with for 13 seasons. The club said Belov died in the Ural Mountains city of Perm, where he coached a local team. No cause was given.
Belov scored 20 points in the 51-50 win over the U.S. in Munich, a gold-medal game in which the Russians scored the winning points as time ran out. The clock had been reset in the final seconds after the Americans thought they had won. The Americans refused to accept their silver medal
Belov, a shooting guard, was widely considered one of the best non-American players of his generation. He also won three Olympic bronze medals — 1968, 1976, 1980 — and led the Soviets to two world-championship titles.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Arizona State dynamic point guard Jahii Carson will depart for the NBA after his sophomore season, Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek said.
Carson was one of the most heralded in-state recruits in Arizona State history coming out of nearby Mesa High School. Confident and quick, Carson led ASU in scoring at 18.5 points per game as a redshirt freshman last season.
Qatar not worried about losing World Cup
The head of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizing committee said he’s “comfortable and confident” the tournament won’t be taken from his country.
Hassan al-Thawadi defended Qatar’s record on protecting migrant workers and pledged that labor rights were improving. There have been claims that dozens have died in the desert heat during construction work linked to the World Cup.
Al-Thawadi was in Zurich where FIFA’s executive committee was discussing the labor issue. Trade-union activists protested at the soccer body’s gates.
The FIFA board chaired by president Sepp Blatter also will debate if the 2022 tournament should be switched from the scheduled June-July dates because of the high Qatari temperatures.
Al-Thawadi said Qatar is comfortable with any timetable for FIFA to choose the best months to play.
Serena moves on
Top-ranked American Serena Williams fought off three set points and rallied to beat Russian Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals of the China Open in Beijing.
Williams won her 70th match of the year and improved to 8-0 against Kirilenko.
In Tokyo, third-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada overpowered Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Japan Open.
Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura won a record fourth men’s all-around world championship in Antwerp, Belgium, beating Japanese compatriot Ryohei Kato in a final that had a sense of inevitability from the start.
Uchimura opened with the best floor exercise of the six top qualifiers and was in command the rest of the way. He mixed strength, poise and elegance in every discipline, setting himself apart from all gymnasts and reinforcing his reputation as the greatest in the history of the sport.
In the contest for the other medals, Sam Mikulak of the U.S. made a decisive error late in his high-bar routine and instead of challenging for silver he ended up fifth.
• FIFA has received applications for more than 4.5 million tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a week before the first phase of sales ends.
• Incoming leaders of Norway’s new government say they will end a 32-year ban on professional boxing in the Scandinavian country when the right-wing coalition takes office next week.
Seattle Times news services