Major League Soccer intends to open its 2021 season as planned in early March but will remain flexible because of the coronavirus. The league plans to play an entire regular season while working around the international calendar, which was made busier because of events pushed back by the pandemic, said MLS president Mark Abbott. “Like all leagues, we are concerned about those restrictions continuing for a second year and are continually evaluating how to manage through the impact of the pandemic in 2021,” he said. It remains to be seen whether fans will be allowed to attend 2021 matches . . . Egyptian soccer star and Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Egyptian soccer association said on Twitter, on the eve of games against Togo in the latest round of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The 28-year-old Salah, who has so far shown no symptoms of COVID-19, was immediately isolated in his hotel room, Egypt’s national team said. Egypt is set to face Togo in Cairo on Saturday, and in Togo’s capital, Lome, on Tuesday.
COVID-19 taking toll on Pac-12
The Pac-12′s football schedule has been scrambled for a second straight week, with positive COVID-19 tests leading to the cancellation of California at Arizona State and Utah at UCLA. Instead, Cal will play UCLA on Sunday at the Rose Bowl. The game will kick off at noon and the teams will have had less than two full days to prepare for each other. Friday’s announcements capped the most tumultuous week of COVID-19 disruptions of the college football season. Fifteen of the 59 games scheduled for Week 11 have been called off. The Sun Devils' home opener was nixed because of several positive COVID-19 tests among the team’s players and coaching staff, including 66-year-old head coach Herm Edwards. The school said the positive tests put the football team below 53 available scholarship players, which is the minimum allowed according to the league’s cancellation policy. The Pac-12 said the canceled games will be declared a no contest . . . The Southeastern Conference announced it will use Dec. 19, the day of its conference championship game, as a make-up date for regular-season games. The SEC postponed four games this week, including two that could not be immediately rescheduled because two of the teams involved already have make-up games set for Dec. 12. In addition, the SEC decided that for the rest of the season it will allow schedule adjustments to be made on Monday nights . . . No. 15 Coastal Carolina’s game against Troy was canceled because of a “combination of positive COVID-19 tests and injuries to a specific position group within the Troy football program.” The school said the teams and the Sun Belt Conference are working to reschedule the game.
Terry Duerod, won title with Celtics, dead at 64
Terry Duerod, who was a member of the Celtics' 1981 championship team and then spent nearly three decades as a Detroit fire fighter, died Friday at 64, according to the Detroit News. Duerod, who was fighting leukemia for seven months, died at home in Westland, Mich. Duerod, a point guard from Detroit, was selected in the third round of the 1979 Draft by the Pistons. He played for four teams over four seasons. He was signed by the Celtics in December 1980 as a backup guard, and saw limited minutes during the title run. He was cut before the 1982-83 season. In 1989, he took the test to become a Detroit fire fighter; he retired in 2016, per the city’s age rules, when he turned 60 . . . Udonis Haslem announced that he’s returning for an 18th season with the Miami Heat, and left the door open for extending his career after that. The 40-year-old Haslem, who has won three NBA titles with the Heat, doesn’t play regularly and hasn’t for years: He got into just four games last season and has scored 76 points in the last four seasons combined.Only five NBA players have spent a career of that length with one franchise. Dirk Nowitzki spent 21 years with Dallas, Kobe Bryant 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, Tim Duncan spent 19 with San Antonio, John Stockton spent 19 with Utah, and Reggie Miller spent 18 with Indiana.
MIT Sloan Conference to be virtual in April
The MIT Sloan Analytics Conference, the annual mashup of sports data whizzes, league executives, business leaders, athletes, and media, will still take place next year, but it will be a virtual happening. Event co-founders Jessica Gelman from the Kraft Analytics Group and Daryl Morey, new president of the Philadelphia 76ers, announced that the 15th annual version of the conference will be held April 8-9. Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, and “Moneyball” author Michael Lewis will be among the speakers. “Uncertainty” about the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event, which has evolved from its modest start in MIT classrooms to a gathering with thousands of attendees at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, to go virtual," said Gelman and Morey in an announcement. Tickets go on sale Nov. 23.
— MICHAEL SILVERMAN
Match ends with wheelchair exit
Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the semifinals of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz after her opponent was injured and left the court in a wheelchair. French qualifier Oceane Dodin trailed, 6-3, 3-3, when she slipped on her right foot while attempting to change direction after landing from a serve. Dodin received medical treatment for her ankle and knee for several minutes. She limped back to her chair before deciding not to play on. Sabalenka will play Barbora Krejcikova for a place in Sunday’s final, while the second-seeded Elise Mertens will take on Ekaterina Alexandrova in the other semifinal in the final WTA event of the year. The 11th-ranked Sabalenka remained on course for her third title of the year and eighth overall. She could join Simona Halep as the only player with three WTA titles in the shortened 2020 season . . . Former New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden has been sentenced to a year of probation in connection with a drug arrest in New Jersey in 2019. Gooden appeared before a judge in a virtual proceeding Thursday. He had pleaded guilty in August 2019 to one count of cocaine possession stemming from a traffic stop in June 2019. Gooden’s car was stopped by police in Holmdel, about 20 miles from New York, for failure to maintain a lane and driving too slow, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office. Two plastic baggies allegedly containing cocaine were found in Gooden’s car. Gooden, 55, was suspended from baseball for part of the 1994 season and all of the 1995 season after testing positive for cocaine . . . Former world champion runner Elijah Manangoi was banned for two years over missed drug tests and will miss the Tokyo Olympics. The 1,500-meter gold medalist at the 2017 worlds accepted he missed three tests in less than six months last year, track and field’s Athletics Integrity Unit said. Athletes risk a two-year ban if they are unavailable for testing, or fail to update details where they can be found by sample collection officials, three times within 12 months. Manangoi’s case is similar to a two-year ban imposed last month on men’s 100-meter world champion Christian Coleman for whereabouts failures.