The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

con­cord, n.c.» NASCAR star Dale Earn­hardt Jr., who missed the fi­nal 18 races last sea­son be­cause of a con­cus­sion, has been med­i­cally cleared to re­turn next year.

Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports an­nounced Thurs­day that Earn­hardt will take part in the sea­son-open­ing Day­tona 500 on Feb. 26.

Dr. Micky Collins, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the UPMC Sports Medicine Con­cus­sion Pro­gram in Pitts­burgh, in con­sul­ta­tion with Char­lotte neu­ro­sur­geon Dr. Jerry Petty, cleared the 42-year-old driver Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing a test ses­sion at Dar­ling­ton Race­way in South Carolina. Petty at­tended the ses­sion.

“I feel great, and I’m ex­cited to of­fi­cially be back,” Earn­hardt said.

Stricker-Kelly team leads shootout

B naples, fla.» Steve Stricker re­turned from a long lay­off to team with Jerry Kelly to take the firstround lead in the Franklin Tem­ple­ton Shootout.

The Madi­son, Wis., duo shot a 16un­der 56 in the scramble for­mat for a one-stroke lead over Har­ris English and Matt Kuchar at Tiburon Golf Club.

The 49-year-old Stricker had not played since the Deutsche Bank Cham­pi­onship on La­bor Day.

Charles How­ell III and Rory Sab­ba­tini were third at 59.

• Rafa Cabr­era Bello had four birdies and an ea­gle for an open­ing 6-un­der 64 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open.

Se­bastien Gros shot 65 at the Hong Kong Golf Club, while 11 golfers were tied for third with 66s.

B austin, texas» For­mer Bay­lor foot­ball coach Art Briles is su­ing re­gents chair­man Ron­ald Murff, board mem­bers J. Cary Gray and David Harper, and Bay­lor vice pres­i­dent Rea­gan Ram­sower for li­bel and slan­der, ac­cus­ing them of falsely stat­ing he knew of re­ported as­saults and al­leged gang rapes by play­ers and didn’t re­port them.

The law­suit also as­serts that Bay­lor of­fi­cials con­spired to keep him from get­ting another coach­ing job.

Briles su­ing Two more to lose medals

B lau­sanne, switzer­land» The Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport said Rus­sian boxer Misha Aloian, who won a fly­weight sil­ver medal, and Ro­ma­nian weightlifter Gabriel Sin­cra­ian, who won bronze in the men’s 85-kilo­gram event, will lose medals from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics af­ter fail­ing dop­ing tests at the Games.

• Swim­ming’s world gov­ern­ing body FINA said it has agreed to re­duce a dop­ing ban for Rus­sian swim­mer Vi­talina Si­monova from four to two years. The for­mer Euro­pean cham­pi­onship sil­ver medal­ist was given the orig­i­nal four-year ban in July af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive in 2015 for ex­ces­sive testos­terone.

Two get life­time ban from FIFA

B zurich» FIFA’s ethics judge im­posed life bans on Jonathan Musaven­gana, a for­mer coach of Togo’s na­tional team, and Bana Tchanile, a Zim­bab­wean of­fi­cial in a lon­grun­ning case of fixed friendlies played ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

For­mer South African fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Kirsten Ne­matan­dani re­ceived a five-year ban from any soc­cer ac­tiv­i­ties for fail­ing to re­port sus­pected cor­rup­tion, and lack of co­op­er­a­tion with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.


Cole Krantz of Wind­sor High School and Trevor Olkowski of Grand Junc­tion High signed let­ters-ofin­tent to play golf at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado. … The Ring Mag­a­zine is mak­ing Muham­mad Ali its 1966 fighter of the year, a half cen­tury af­ter re­fus­ing to give him the award be­cause of his dis­ap­proval of the draft for the Viet­nam War and con­nec­tion with the Na­tion of Is­lam. … Mississippi foot­ball co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dan Werner was fired af­ter five sea­sons with coach Hugh Freeze. … Paul Elvstrom, a yachts­man who won four straight Olympic sailing gold medals from 1948 to 1960, died in Copen­hagen. He was 88.

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