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Sports briefs for Feb. 14, 2013

By From wire service reports

Report: NHL tickets rise more than NFL, NBA

NHL teams implemented a larger ticket percentage than the NFL and NBA for the second consecutive season, according to an annual study by Team Marketing Report, a sports marketing research firm.

The 2013 MLB ticket average won’t be released until the start of the season.

Following a four-month lockout, the NHL began play in January and season-ticket prices rose 5.7 percent, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index. The average season ticket for non-premium seats is $61.01. Prices were determined long before the season.

The NBA’s average ticket increased 3.5 percent to $50.99 and the NFL’s rose 2.5 percent to $78.38. Last season’s average MLB ticket remained even at $26.98.

In the previous season, the NHL raised prices by 4.8 percent, while the NBA (1.7 percent), NFL (1.2 percent) and MLB (1.2 percent for 2011 season) had smaller increases.

Report: Lakers owner Buss hospitalized with cancer

Lakers owner Jerry Buss reportedly has an undisclosed form of cancer and has been hospitalized.

Citing multiple team personnel, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that Buss, 79, has been spending time in the intensive care unit of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for his condition. A Lakers spokesperson would not comment on Buss’ condition.

The Times reported many current and former Lakers players, including Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, have visited Buss. Radaronline.com reported the players were paying their last respects to him.

Buss bought the Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings and the Forum from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979 for $67.5. He built the franchise into one of the most iconic in sports, winning 10 NBA championships since he bought them. Last year, the team signed a $1 billion TV deal.

Bills release CB McGee

Cornerback Terrence McGee was released by the Buffalo Bills on Thursday.

McGee, 32, played in just seven games last season because of a knee injury. Overall, he started 91 of 122 games in which he played since he joined the Bills as a fourth-round (111th overall) draft choice in 2003 and totaled 17 interceptions while amassing 543 tackles.

He also hold the record for kickoff return yards (5,450), attempts (207) and kickoff return touchdowns (five). His 26.3-yard kickoff-return average is fifth-best in team history. He was voted to the 2005 Pro Bowl.

Isringhausen retires, becomes college pitching coach

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville announced Thursday that major-league veteran Jason Isringhausen will join the school’s baseball team as its pitching coach.

Isringhausen, 40, pitched 16 seasons for seven teams. He finished his career with 300 saves, a 51-55 record and a 3.64 earned run average.

Last season the right-hander pitched for the Los Angeles Angeles, posting a 4.14 ERA in 50 relief appearances.

He had seven seasons of at least 30 saves during the 2000s.

Report: Clowney’s mom expects son to play

The mother of South Carolina defensive end and possible 2014 No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney told SI.com Thursday that she expects her son to play a third season, rather than skip the season to avoid injury.

Clowney’s status has been uncertain since Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorensen suggested Feb. 10 that Clowney should think about sitting out his junior year to train for the pro draft. Per NFL rules, players can’t declare for the draft until three years post-graduation from high school.

Clowney, 20, is viewed as an imposing defensive presence at 6-foot-6 1/2, 273 pounds.

Waltrip car No. 26 to support Sandy Hook victims

Michael Waltrip will sport a special Sandy Hook School Support Fund paint scheme in the Feb. 24 Daytona 500, as part of a joint effort to raise awareness and contributions for the tragedy.

The tribute is part of a joint effort of the two-time Daytona 500 champion and NASCAR.

The No. 26 car, supplied by Swan Racing, holds significance because it represents the 20 children and six adults killed by gunman Adam Lanza at an elementary school Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.

NASCAR chairman Brian France and his wife Amy have already donated $50,000, and The NASCAR Foundation will match that amount.

Senators’ Karlsson likely out for the season

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is likely out for the rest of the season after having surgery Thursday to repair his left Achilles’ tendon, general manager Bryan Murray said.

Karlsson, 22, suffered a 70-percent tear. He was injured in Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he was cut by the skate of Penguins’ left wing Matt Cooke as they scrapped for the puck along the boards. Late in the second period, Cook’s skate blade came down above the top of Karlsson’s boot.

“Erik Karlsson’s season is effectively over,” Murray said.

The Senators will now have to get by with the reigning Norris Trophy winner for at least three months and more likely until the start of the 2013-14 season.

Report: Redskins’ Griffin could start opener

Nearly a little more than a month after Robert Griffin III underwent reconstructive knee surgery, Washington Redskins officials feel he can start the 2013 regular-season opener, according to an ESPN report.

Griffin has been rehabbing in Washington. People who know him compare him to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who returned to the MVP award the season after major knee surgery.

Griffin was named The Associated Press 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after setting an NFL record for best passer rating by a rookie quarterback. He also led the Redskins to its first NFC East title in 13 years.

He tore his ACL and LCL ligaments in the wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Cairo joins Reds front office

Veteran infielder Miguel Cairo has joined the Cincinnati Reds front office in a role that appears to end his playing career.

The team announced that Cairo, 38, will be a special assistant to general manager Walt Jocketty.

Cairo spent the 2010-12 seasons with the Reds. In a 17-year career with nine teams, he batted .264.

Canadiens, Lightning swap goalies

The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning swapped goaltenders on Thursday, with Dustin Tokarski going to Montreal and Cedrick Desjardins heading to Tampa Bay, the teams announced Thursday.

Tokarski, 23, played 33 games with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) since the start of the 2012-13 season, and posted a 2.46 goals against average and .900 save percentage. The Saskatchewan-native had been with the Tampa Bay organization since being drafted in the fifth round in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

He has played seven games at the NHL level.

A’s Balfour out 4-6 weeks

Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour will miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Balfour was bothered by knee soreness at the end of the 2012 season. He was hurting again Wednesday during batting practice and tests revealed a torn meniscus in his right knee that required surgery Thursday.

Rockets recall Jones, Smith

The Houston Rockets recalled forward Terrence Jones and center/forward Greg Smith from Houston’s their D-League partner Rio Grande Valley, general manager Daryl Morey announced Thursday.

Jones has averaged 18.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 15 starts with the Vipers in 2012-13. He’s also played in 11 games with the Rockets, and has averaged 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds.

Smith has averaged 12.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in three games with Rio Grande Valley this season. In his second season with Houston, he averaged 5.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 44 games.

Rockies acquire Brignac

The Colorado Rockies acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named and cash. Brignac had been designated for assignment last week to create roster room for pitcher Kyle Farnsworth and infielder Kelly Johnson.

Brignac, 27, appeared in 16 games for the Rays last season at second base, third base, shortstop and left field. He spent most of the season at Triple-A, batting .231 in 400 plate appearances.

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