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Sports briefs, Nov. 21

Maine bowlers advance to national tourney

BRUNSWICK — Nate Harzewski of Dixmont and Troy Trombley of Brunswick both earned berths in the North Pointe National Junior Gold Championships after winning state-qualifying tourneys at Sparetime Recreation Saturday.

Harzewski rolled a six-string score of 941 to claim the ages 16-20 title while Trombley recorded a 1,008 to capture the title for ages 15 and under.

Competing at the national tourney will allow the bowlers to meet college recruiters in Indianapolis next July.

Maine Junior Gold is looking for sponsors to help pay for the bowlers’ entry fees and possible expenses. For more information contact Bonnie Harzewski at 234-4049 or

Dr. J memorabilia back in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — His sneakers are returning to Philadelphia. The 76ers are hopeful Dr. J will come along for the ride.

A day after the Sixers swooped in and collected some Julius Erving memorabilia, team CEO Adam Aron said he has reached out to Dr. J about joining the organization in some capacity.

“We’d like to bring Dr. J back to Philadelphia,” Aron said Monday. “He’s only one of the greatest 76ers of all time. We’d love to see Julius Erving have a connection with the 76ers in some shape or fashion. I don’t know what, exactly.”

Erving’s retired No. 6 already hangs in the rafters — and soon Philadelphia fans will feel more connected to the Hall of Famer.

The team bought 10 lots containing 18 items from Erving’s personal basketball memorabilia collection auction that ended over the weekend.

SCP Auctions said more than 140 items from Erving’s collection sold for a record $3.5 million. Among the highlights: His 1974 New Jersey Nets ABA championship ring sold for $460,471, a record price for a sports ring.

Neither that ring nor Erving’s 1983 76ers NBA championship landed with the franchise.

Aron said all the items the team won were $10,000 or less.

Erving is aware the 76ers bought merchandise at the auction. He was not immediately available for comment.

Man arrested after bar dispute with Celtics’ Rondo

LOWELL, Mass. — A man accused of taking a swing at Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo inside a Massachusetts nightclub has been released on personal recognizance.

Eric Valarezo, of Haverhill (HAY’-vruhl), said he’s innocent but had no further comment after leaving a Lowell court on Monday following arraignment on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. The case was continued after a prosecutor asked for more time to investigate.

Authorities say the 31-year-old Valarezo was arrested just before 2 a.m. Saturday at Brian’s Ivy Hall in Lowell. No one was hurt.

Club manager Kevin Hayhurst says Rondo and several others, including bodyguards and fellow NBA players, were part of a crowd leaving just before closing time and didn’t seem to be acting improperly.

Valarezo says Rondo pushed him and that he reacted in self-defense.

Bears QB Cutler to have surgery on broken thumb

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has a broken thumb on his right throwing hand and will undergo surgery, a major blow for a team contending for a playoff spot in the NFC.

Coach Lovie Smith said Cutler will be out “for an extended time” but expects to get him back this season. He would not say when the surgery would take place, just “hopefully fairly quick” and provided few details about the specific nature of the injury.

He did make one thing clear, though.

“Is it a season-ending injury? No,” Smith said Monday. “From what I’ve been told right now, we can expect him back at the end of the regular season.”

The regular-season finale is Jan. 1 at Minnesota.

With Cutler out, the Bears will turn to backup Caleb Hanie against Oakland this weekend. They’ll also look to bring in a veteran quarterback.

Hanie has thrown just 14 regular-season passes in four years. He made some plays in the NFC championship game against Green Bay last season after Cutler was injured and Todd Collins struggled, helping keep the Bears in it, but Chicago ultimately lost to the Packers.

Jets coach Ryan won’t appeal NFL’s $75K fine

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan’s mouth really cost him this time.

The brash New York Jets coach will not appeal a $75,000 fine issued by the NFL on Monday for using profanity while angrily responding to a fan at halftime of New York’s 37-16 loss to New England last Sunday. Ryan received an official notice from Commissioner Roger Goodell in the morning.

“The commissioner’s got a tough enough job,” Ryan said. “I’m an NFL lifer. I know I represent the NFL and I know I represent the Jets, so I’m accountable for my actions.”

Ryan spoke to Goodell a few days ago to discuss the matter, and to apologize to him.

“Quite honestly, the man’s made a decision, and if his decision is that I should be fined $75,000, then that’s the way it is,” Ryan said, when asked if the punishment was excessive. “I just want to get it behind me.”

A 49-second video shot by a fan at MetLife Stadium shows the Jets walking off the field and when Ryan appears, someone is heard yelling, “Hey, Rex, Belichick is better than you,” referring to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Ryan looks up and tells the fan to “shut up” while also using an obscenity.

Ryan apologized a day later for what he called “a mistake,” saying he “was full of emotion and just popped off.” Moments earlier, the Jets had just allowed the Patriots to take a 13-9 lead into halftime. He reiterated Monday that he has owned up to what he did since the incident became public last week.

It’s not the first time Ryan is in trouble because of his mouth, which likely contributed to the hefty punishment. He was fined $50,000 by the Jets in February 2010 after he was caught on a cellphone camera giving the middle finger to a fan during a mixed martial arts event in Florida.

NASCAR trims 2012 Truck Series schedule

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR has cut three races from the 2012 Truck Series schedule.

The series will run 22 races next season, down from 25 this year. NASCAR added an inaugural event at Rockingham Speedway and a second race at Iowa Speedway.

But the series lost two events when Nashville Superspeedway closed. The series also won’t return to Lucas Oil Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway.

NASCAR senior vice president Steve O’Donnell says other venues had been explored for the series, and will continue to be discussed for future schedules.

The Truck Series is sponsored by Camping World.

NASCAR announced the decision on Monday.

Ankle sprain puts Peterson’s status in question

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has a high ankle sprain that will put him in a walking boot this week, leaving his availability for Sunday’s game at Atlanta in question.

Coach Leslie Frazier said Monday that Peterson has a Grade 1 sprain, the least severe of the three categories, with “a little bit of” ligament damage. But Peterson will wear the boot for a few days to protect the joint and won’t try to practice until Friday to determine if he’ll be able to play against the Falcons.

“The good news is there’s nothing more serious than that,” Frazier said, adding: “He’ll recover from it. It’s just the amount of time that he’ll miss. We’ll have a better indication toward the end of the week.”

Peterson was unavailable for comment Monday. He said Sunday the ankle hurt “pretty bad,” but he also reminded reporters, “I’m a tough individual.”

Peterson’s left ankle rolled hard late in the first quarter on Sunday against Oakland while he was tackled at the end of a run. He didn’t return. Peterson has missed only three games in his decorated five-year NFL career. He’s currently sixth in the league in rushing with 872 yards, and his 11 rushing touchdowns are the most this season of any player.

“We don’t want to put him at risk. You know how valuable he is to our team and our franchise,” Frazier said. “So we’ll monitor where he is and try to make a good decision with what’s best for him and what’s best for our team as well.”

With the Vikings long out of the playoff chase, they might be wise to sit Peterson and give him more time to heal. But Frazier said the decision on whether to play him on Sunday will be “purely based on his health.”

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