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Prosecutors close probe of Schumacher ski accident

French investigators have ruled out criminal wrongdoing in the debilitating ski accident of Formula One great Michael Schumacher, a state prosecutor said Monday.

Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy said “no infraction by anyone has been turned up” and the probe has been closed, his office said in a statement — responding to questions about whether the Meribel ski station in the French Alps or an equipment maker might have had some role in Schumacher’s injuries.

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The 45-year-old German suffered serious head injuries Dec. 29 when he fell and hit the right side of his head on a rock off the side of a demarcated slope in Meribel. Schumacher has been treated at Grenoble University Hospital in southeastern France since then.

Quincy’s office said the rock that caused Schumacher to fall was 34 feet from another rock upon which he hit his head.

“The accident took place in an off-piste area,” the prosecutor’s statement said. “The signage, marking, staking and information provided about the edges of this slope adhere to French norms in place.”

The decision does not prevent Schumacher’s family from taking civil action.

Doctors have started waking Schumacher, a seven-time F1 champion, from an induced coma. Experts have said it will likely be months before Schumacher’s prognosis becomes clear — and lasting brain damage is a possibility.


Barcelona to visit Man City

Flashing rarely sighted smiles, unruffled by the prospect of taking on Barcelona of Spain, manager Manuel Pellegrini personified the calm and confidence at Manchester City.

The teams collide Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 in Manchester, England. The second leg of the home-and-home, total-goals series is March 12 in Barcelona.

Manchester City is third in the English Premier League this season. Meanwhile, Manchester United — which has a greater history of success — is in seventh.

“If we only consider this season, there is just one club in Manchester and it’s ours,” Pellegrini said in Spanish. “But you cannot forget what United has done in the previous years. We are aiming to keep growing by winning many trophies — not just national but international trophies.”

Fifteen years ago, Manchester City was in the depths of the third tier of English soccer. City returned to the Premier League in 2002 and the wealth of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family has enabled the franchise to become the biggest spender in world soccer since 2008.


Williams is eager to play

Top-ranked Serena Williams vowed to try to make amends after missing the Dubai Tennis Championships a year ago because of an injury withdrawal.

“I really wanted to play here after pulling out in 2013,” the 32-year-old American said. “My goal is to lift the trophy, but we will see how my back feels.”

On the topic of retirement, Williams said she has no timetable for her career.

“Age is not catching up to me,” she said. “This generation is playing longer. I think racket and fitness technology have something to do with it. We know what we have to do in the gym.

“There’s no more playing tennis and then going to the bar like several decades ago. The sport now is more of a lifestyle.”

Williams, who received a first-round bye, sounded ready to play Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the second round.

“It gets boring to have to practice every day,” Williams said. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to practice anymore. I want to play a match.’ ”

College baseball

Winston records a save

Florida State closer Jameis Winston made his 2014 baseball debut last week in a season-opening series against Niagara.

Winston, a quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy last football season, earned his first save of the year Saturday. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound redshirt sophomore retired all six batters he faced.


Tapiture pulled away to a 4¼ -length victory over even-money Strong Mandate in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

Tapiture, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., ran 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 44.95 seconds. The colt paid $13 to win as the second betting choice in the Grade III race.

“He’s an extremely talented horse we feel real good about,” Asmussen said. “We need him to keep getting better, getting stronger. Big step forward today, but he’s going to have to keep getting better because the competition will as well.”

• Mississippi linebackers Denzel Nkemdiche and Serderius Bryant face misdemeanor charges in connection with separate incidents last weekend in Oxford, Miss.

Police chief Joey East said Nkemdiche, 21, was charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace around midnight Saturday. The 22-year-old Bryant, who led Ole Miss with 78 tackles last season, was charged with public drunkenness and disturbing the peace early Sunday.

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