Lionel Messi, grimacing in pain, was taken off the field on a cart with a bone bruise to his left knee as host Barcelona was held to a 0-0...

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Messi has bruised knee

Lionel Messi, grimacing in pain, was taken off the field on a cart with a bone bruise to his left knee as host Barcelona was held to a 0-0 tie by Benfica in a Champions League match Wednesday night.

With Barcelona already assured of advancing to the second round, Messi entered as a reserve in the 58th minute.

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Messi’s left knee collided with the right hand of Benfica’s Artur as he ran onto Gerard Pique’s long pass and tried to round the goalkeeper in the 85th minute. Messi took a left-footed shot from an angle, then fell to the field in pain. He rolled onto his back and held the knee, then was loaded onto a cart.

Juventus eliminated Chelsea with a 1-0 victory at Shakhtar Donetsk, and Galatasaray and Celtic also qualified for the last 16 after the final round of group matches.


Angels add 2 pitchers

The Los Angeles Angels added two more new arms to their retooled pitching staff by agreeing to a $15 million, two-year contract with right-hander Joe Blanton and an $8 million, two-year deal with left-handed reliever Sean Burnett.

In other moves, the Arizona Diamondbacks and infielder Eric Chavez agreed to terms on a $3 million, one-year contract.

Versatile infielder Jeff Keppinger reached agreement with the Chicago White Sox on a $12 million, three-year contract.

Free-agent outfielder Nate McLouth rejoined the Baltimore Orioles with a one-year contract worth $2 million.

The Detroit Tigers traded left-hander Andy Oliver to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Ramon Cabrera.

The Atlanta Braves exercised their 2014 option on the contract of manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Jeter’s ankle improving

Derek Jeter, wearing a protective boot on his surgically repaired left ankle, returned to the Bronx to surprise more than 500 children from New York City at his foundation’s holiday party. It was his first public appearance at Yankee Stadium since his operation in late October.

The 38-year-old Yankees captain insists he’s on a path that will allow him to be New York’s shortstop on opening day, April 1.


Owners, players meet again

NHL labor talks that began in the daylight hours stretched to nearly nine hours, and both sides plan to meet again later Thursday in New York City.

It isn’t known what progress — if any — has been made in the second straight day of marathon talks in the dispute that is threatening the entire hockey season, but owners and players surely sense that time is now a factor and a deal must be made soon to get the game back on the ice. Very little information leaked out of the meeting room, but it is believed that each side submitted proposals to the other.


WAC adds Chicago State

The ever-changing Western Athletic Conference is adding Chicago State next July, meaning the league will keep its automatic qualifying berths for the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments for another year.

Chicago State joins Cal State-Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle and Utah Valley in the WAC, which is losing Denver to the Summit League.

Rutgers suing Big East

Rutgers is suing the Big East Conference, trying to avoid paying a $10 million exit fee.

The suit says the Big East selectively enforces the rules. The Big East allowed Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Texas Christian to leave the league before the 27-month exit period had run its course.

Auto racing

Stewart declines Penske’s offer

Tony Stewart has passed up a chance to race for Roger Penske in the Indianapolis 500.

The three-time NASCAR champion said he wouldn’t attempt to race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.

Stewart, an Indiana native, has raced five times in the Indy 500, starting from the pole as a rookie in 1996 and leading 44 laps before his engine failed. His highest finish was fifth in 1997.


IOC strips four medals from ’04

Eight years after winning Olympic medals in Athens, four track and field athletes from Eastern Europe were ordered to hand them back because of positive doping tests.

The International Olympic Committee executive board disqualified four athletes whose Athens doping samples were retested earlier this year and came back positive for steroids, including shot put gold medalist Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine.

Also stripped were hammer throw silver medalist Ivan Tskikhan of Belarus and two bronze medalists — women’s shot putter Svetlana Krivelyova of Russia and discus thrower Irina Yatchenko of Belarus.


• Sporting Kansas City acquired midfielder Josh Gardner from the Montreal Impact for the team’s highest pick in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft.

• American defending champ Lexi Thompson opened with a 3-under-par 69 at the Dubai Ladies Masters in United Arab Emirates and was three shots off the leaders.

• Former NFL coach Tony Dungy was selected as this year’s NCAA Roosevelt Award winner.

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