NBA players put union chief Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave Friday, two weeks after a report they commissioned questioned Hunter’s leadership and criticized him for bad decisions and questionable business practices. An examination by a New York law firm found no illegal use of funds but cited Hunter for a number of poor choices and recommended players discuss whether he should remain in charge during their All-Star weekend meetings. Released Jan. 17 after an eight-month review, the report found that Hunter was aware his $3 million per year contract was never properly approved.
Union attorney Ron Klempner will be the acting executive director ‘‘until further decisions can be made.’’ . . . Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Danny Granger could be back before the All-Star break. Granger has been out all season with a patellar tendinitis in his left knee, but was cleared for full contact practice for the first time Thursday . . . A Texas jury sentenced Nickey Maxwell Van Exel, the 22-year-old son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel, to 60 years in prison in the 2010 shooting death of longtime friend Bradley Bassey Eyo.
Senators without Spezza for 2 months
Ottawa center Jason Spezza underwent back surgery for a herniated disk, and general manager Bryan Murray said the Senators will be without their No. 1 center for a minimum of two months. Spezza had five points in five games this season, and he was fourth in the NHL with 84 points in 2011-12 . . . The NHL is hopeful it can still sell the Coyotes after prospective owner Greg Jamison missed a Thursday deadline with the city of Glendale, Ariz. Coyotes COO Mike Nealy said the team will continue to be owned by the NHL.
White rebounds as Americans sweep
Two-time Olympic champion Shaun White overcame a first-run fall to win gold and lead an American sweep at the US Grand Prix snowboard championships in Park City, Utah. Scott Lago took second and Luke Mitrani, who clinched the national title, took third. In the women’s halfpipe, China’s Jiayu Lui posted an 82 on her second run to edge US rookie Arielle Gold (80.25) for gold. American Kaitlyn Farrington was third with 73.25. In freestyle aerials, Maxim Gustik took gold while American rookie Michael Rossi grabbed bronze . . . Shelley Rudman of Britain won her first skeleton world championship title, holding off a strong challenge from Noelle Pikus-Pace of the US in St. Moritz, Switzerland . . . In Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, American Kikkan Randall won the women’s 1.4-kilometer cross-country race and Petter Northug of Norway won the men’s 1.8-kilometer freestyle race.
Isner, Querrey give US early Davis lead
John Isner and Sam Querrey each won matches in Jacksonville, Fla., to give the United States a 2-0 lead over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup. In Charlerio, Belgium, Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic swept Oliver Rochus to give Serbia a 2-0 lead over Belgium. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet won singles matches to give host France a 2-0 lead against Israel . . . Texas football offensive coordinator Major Applewhite acknowledged he was disciplined by the university for an inappropriate relationship with a student during the team’s trip to play in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. In separate statements and a document released from Applewhite’s personnel file, Applewhite and athletic director DeLoss Dodds said Applewhite had his pay frozen in 2009 and underwent counseling.