Sports briefs 3/5/05

Saturday, March 5, 2005


* Chicago Bulls rookie Luol Deng went on the injured list Friday with a sprained right ankle, and the team said it expects him to be out for two to four weeks.

Deng sprained his ankle in the opening minute of Tuesday night's game against Houston when he stepped on Yao Ming's foot. He immediately fell to the ground and had to be helped to the locker room.

An MRI performed on Wednesday confirmed injury to his lateral ankle ligament.

"It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be, so I'm actually a little bit relieved," coach Scott Skiles said. "When I first saw his ankle, it was really big and I was worried maybe he had several torn ligaments or something."

Deng, the seventh overall pick in the draft, is fourth on the team in scoring at 12.2 points a game.


Chris Lowery, who led Southern Illinois to its fourth straight Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship, on Friday was named conference coach of the year in a vote by media and coaches.

Lowery becomes the second rookie coach to win the honor in as many years. In 2004, Southern Illinois' Matt Painter won the award.

The Salukis are 25-6 overall, 15-3 in the MVC. They open play in the conference tournament Saturday in St. Louis.

Lowery, 32, is a native of Evansville, Ind. He played for Southern Illinois, including in NCAA tournament appearances in 1993 and 1994.


* Phil Mickelson topped the leaderboard for the ninth consecutive round in stroke play, shooting a 6-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Billy Andrade after the second round of the Ford Championship at Doral.

Mickelson, the winner this year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, had a 14-under 130 total -- one short of the 36-hole record at Doral. Andrade also shot a 66.

Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal (69) was 11 under, and Billy Mayfair birdied three of the last four holes for a 67 to finish at 10 under.

* Annika Sorenstam shot a 2-under 70 in her first competitive round of the year, leaving her four strokes behind leader Hee-Won Han in the MasterCard Classic, the first LPGA Tour event in Mexico since 1975.

Han, from South Korea, had seven birdies in a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over compatriot Young Jo.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over South Africa's Ernie Els in the Dubai Desert Classic.

Jimenez had a 12-under 132 total. Els, the 1994 and 2002 winner, shot a 68.


* Andre Agassi stumbled in his return to Davis Cup play, then Andy Roddick stepped up to square things for the Americans.

Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic beat Agassi in straight sets in Friday's opening match. Roddick bounced back after a first-set loss to defeat Mario Ancic 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the second and final match of the day.

Ljubicic downed Agassi 6-3, 7-6 (7-0), 6-3 in the match of Croatia's No. 1 player against the U.S. team's No. 2.

The first round resumes on Saturday, with twins Mike and Bob Bryan scheduled to face Ljubicic and Ancic.

* Serena Williams retired from her semifinal match against Jelena Jankovic at the Dubai Women's Open on Friday with a strained tendon in her right shoulder.

The unseeded Jankovic was leading 6-0, 4-3, when Williams pulled out 59 minutes into the match. That put Jankovic into the final against top-seeded Lindsay Davenport, who struggled through an upset stomach to beat Patty Schnyder 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

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