Dale Earnhardt Jr. was cleared Tuesday for this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway after missing the last two weeks to recover from two concussions. NASCAR’s most popular driver was examined by neurosurgeon Jerry Petty a day after he ran 123 laps at half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. Petty kept Earnhardt sidelined after the driver was complaining of a lingering headache following a 25-car accident on the last lap of the Oct. 7 race at Talladega. Petty diagnosed Earnhardt with a concussion, and said Earnhardt also suffered one in an Aug. 29 crash during a tire test at Kansas that went untreated. It snapped Earnhardt’s streak of 461 straight starts, the fifth-longest active streak in the Sprint Cup Series, and ended his shot at winning the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Ailing, Lakers’ Bryant sits another day
Kobe Bryant sat out of practice with the Lakers for the second straight day to rest his injured right foot, and he said he probably won’t play in Wednesday’s exhibition game. Bryant bruised and strained his foot during the Lakers’ loss to Sacramento on Sunday night. Dwight Howard didn’t participate in contact drills during Tuesday’s practice either; he is recovering from general soreness after his Lakers debut . . . Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson didn’t play in an exhibition game against Indiana because of a concussion, while teammate and former Celtic forward Luke Harangody was out with a sprained left knee . . . Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said he’s encouraged after the first knee surgery of his career but that a timetable for his return is ‘‘pretty ridiculous to talk about.’’ Nowitzki had arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee over the weekend. Coach Rick Carlisle said the 11-time All-Star was expected to miss six weeks . . . A New Jersey woman who worked for the NBA as a senior account executive filed a $3 million gender discrimination lawsuit against the league, saying she and two other women with young children were forced out of their jobs by a hostile environment toward working mothers with childcare responsibilities . . . Garland Owens, a 6-foot-5-inch guard/forward, was the first 2013-14 recruit to commit to Boston College . . . UCLA forward David Wear may return to practice next Monday after X-rays on his sprained right ankle were negative, a team spokesman said.
Golson to start at QB for Notre Dame
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said quarterback Everett Golson did well during a full workout and will start for the No. 5 Fighting Irish at No. 8 Oklahoma on Saturday. Kelly said Golson is at 100 percent a week after benching him against Brigham Young as a precaution, saying he wanted to give him more time to recover from a concussion sustained against Stanford . . . Idaho State coach Mike Kramer was suspended for the game at Montana for violating the university’s conduct policy, athletic director Jeff Tingey said. The suspension came as Kramer was being investigated by the university and Pocatello (Idaho) police after receiver Derek Graves said that Kramer shoved him to the ground during practice on Oct. 3. Video obtained by ESPN shows Kramer running toward a player, putting his face close to the player’s helmet, and shoving him down with two hands. Graves’s attorney, Don Jackson, said his client suffered neck and back spasms, causing him to miss three games. Associate head coach Don Bailey will serve as the acting head coach . . . Iowa lost starting offensive linemen Brandon Scherff (broken leg) and Andrew Donnal (knee) to season-ending injuries.
Serena starts fast in the WTA finale
In her first match since winning the US Open, Serena Williams defeated Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 6-1, to start round-robin play in the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul. Agnieszka Radwanska defeated titleholder Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 6-2, and Maria Sharapova defeated Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2, in a repeat of the French Open final. Sharapova’s win means she can still wrestle the No. 1 ranking from Victoria Azarenka, who plays Wednesday . . . Padraig Harrington, a playoff loser the two times he qualified for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, gave himself a chance to win as an alternate. Harrington, who replaced British Open champion Ernie Els, made seven birdies for a 5-under-par 66 in Southampton, Bermuda, to take a two-shot lead over Masters champion Bubba Watson going into the final round of the 36-hole exhibition for the year’s four major champions. US Open champ Webb Simpson had a 69. Keegan Bradley, who replaced PGA champion Rory McIlroy, rounded out the four-man field with a 72 . . . Abby Wambach scored for the 23d time this year, but the US had to settle for a 2-2 exhibition tie with Germany, the teams’ second draw in four days . . . Barcelona’s Jordi Alba scored four minutes into second-half stoppage time to snatch a 2-1 win over Celtic, and Manchester United got two goals from Javier Hernandez to top Braga, 3-2, as both teams rallied from deficits to remain perfect in the Champions League group stage. Chelsea slipped, 2-1, against Shakhtar Donetsk, to jeopardize its title defense . . . Retired Norwegian rider Steffen Kjaergaard, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, admitted to using banned performance-enhancing drugs, but didn’t point fingers to any teammates.