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3-time Indy-500 winner Dario Franchitti forced to retire because of injuries

AUTO RACING

Injuries force Franchitti to retire

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti reluctantly retired Thursday after doctors told him it is too dangerous to continue racing following the injuries he suffered in a crash last month. Franchitti fractured his spine, broke his right ankle, and suffered a concussion in the Oct. 6 IndyCar race at Houston, where his car made contact with Takuma Sato’s car on the last lap and sailed into a fence. Debris from the accident injured 13 fans in the grandstands and one IndyCar official. The 40-year-old Franchitti underwent two surgeries on his ankle and recently returned home to Scotland to recover . . . McLaren says it will promote Danish driver Kevin Magnussen for the 2014 Formula One season, pairing the rookie with former world champion Jenson Button.

OLYMPICS

Phelps a step closer to return in Rio

Michael Phelps has rejoined the US drug testing program, the strongest signal yet he’s planning a comeback for the Rio Olympics. Phelps, 28, told the Associated Press that ‘‘nothing is set in stone’’ though clearly he has enjoyed getting back into shape — he’s down about 15 pounds — and working out with his former team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. ‘‘If I decide to keep going and swim again, then I'll compete,’’ Phelps said in a telephone interview from Minneapolis, where he is attending an Arena Grand Prix meet this weekend . . . WADA is investigating problems with the drug-testing laboratory in Russia, less than three months before the Sochi Winter Games. The agency has set up a disciplinary committee to look into the WADA-accredited Moscow lab.

GOLF

Stenson holding all the cards in Dubai

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Henrik Stenson strengthened his chances of winning the European money title, shooting a 4-under-par 68 that left him two shots behind leader Alejandro Canizares after the first round of the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai. Stenson already leads the Race to Dubai standings and was two shots ahead of nearest rival and playing partner Justin Rose . . . Masters champion Adam Scott shot an opening-round 4-under 67 and trails leader Nick Cullen by two strokes in the Australian Masters in Melbourne. Two-time cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle, 32, made the weekend cut in his first event in 20 months. Lyle was diagnosed with leukemia in March 2012 just before the birth of his daughter . . . Brian Stuard topped the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic leaderboard at 5 under with three holes left when first-round play was suspended for the day because of rain and wet conditions at Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton and Alvaro Quiros were a stroke back . . . Pornanong Phatlum fired a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Amy Yang in the first round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico.

COLLEGES

Cornell fires coach because of hazing

Cornell fired men’s lacrosse coach Ben DeLuca, two months after the team’s fall season was canceled because of hazing. Athletic director Andy Noel said new leadership is required. Assistant coach Matt Kerwick will serve as the interim coach . . . North Carolina leading scorer P.J. Hairston and senior Leslie McDonald will miss their second straight game due to NCAA eligibility concerns when the No. 12 Tar Heels play Holy Cross on Friday night in Chapel Hill. Authorities twice cited Hairston during the offseason while driving a rental vehicle linked to a felon and party promoter . . . Kentucky coach John Calipari signed forwards Trey Lyles and Karl Towns and guards Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis for next season. Scouting sites have rated the 6-foot-10-inch Lyles among the top 10 of the 2014 class.

MISCELLANY

Deal reunites Versteeg with Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forwards Kris Versteeg and Philippe Lefebvre from the Florida Panthers for former Boston College forward Jimmy Hayes and defenseman Dylan Olsen. The 27-year-old Versteeg, a member of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup championship team, has two goals and five assists in 18 games this season . . . Another former BC player, Patrick Eaves, was placed on waivers by the Red Wings. Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he hoped Eaves gets a chance to play regularly for another team and added there’s nothing wrong with Eaves on or off the ice . . . Matt Barnes apologized to his Los Angeles Clippers teammates and coaches for getting ejected and then sending out a profane tweet. The NBA fined him $25,000 for his actions. Barnes, along with Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, got ejected, and Blake Griffin of the Clippers received a technical foul for their parts in a scuffle Wednesday night. 

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