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Sports briefs for April 28, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Phil Jackson had cancer during 2011 playoffs

The Los Angeles Lakers were in the middle of a 2011 second-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks when former coach Phil Jackson decided to tell the team that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer two months earlier.

Jackson talked about his condition, which was diagnosed in March 2011, and his announcement to the players in his upcoming book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.”

According to a report in the Orange County Register, Jackson “sensed the team was lacking something” in the series with the Maverics when he revealed his news after consulting with captains Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher.

The Lakers were swept out of the playoffs by the eventual champion Mavericks.

Lakers center Paul Gasol said the disclosure, which came during a video session, was “shocking” to the team.

“But then you also could understand certain moments of his demeanor, energy and involvement because of what he was going through health-wise,”Gasol said, according to the Register. “It explained certain things. It was a shock. A difficult moment for the team.”

An emotional Jackson told the team that he had decided to delay surgery until after the season.

Avalanche sack Sacco as coach

Joe Sacco is out as Colorado Avalanche coach.

The team fired Sacco on Sunday, the day after it finished last in the Western Conference and had the second-worst record in the NHL this season at 16-25-7.

There was no word on a possible successor.

Eric LaCroix, the Avs’ vice president of hockey operations, also has left the team, the Denver Post reported. Team president Pierre Lacroix and general manager Greg Sherman are still with the Avalanche.

Sacco guided the Avalanche to the playoffs in his first season as coach in 2009-10, but Colorado has failed to reach the postseason for the past three years.

Sacco was 130-134-14 in his four seasons behind the Colorado bench.

Stars fire Nieuwendyk, to name Nill as GM

One day after the Dallas Stars failed to make the NHL playoffs for the fifth straight season, the team fired general manager Joe Nieuwendyk on Sunday.

The Stars are set to hire Detroit Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill to fill the position, according to reports. The team has scheduled an announcement for Monday.

The Stars’ season ended Saturday night with a 3-1 loss at home to the playoff-bound Red Wings. Dallas finished 11th in the Western Conference with a 22-22-4 record and was seven points short of landing a playoff spot.

Nieuwendyk, a Hockey Hall of Fame player who was a member of the Stars’ only Stanley Cup champion in 1999, had served as team’s GM since May 2009.

Roberson, McCallum to enter NBA draft

Colorado junior Andre Roberson and Detroit junior Ray McCallum will give up their final seasons of college eligibility and enter the upcoming NBA draft.

Roberson had canceled a press conference two days earlier when he was scheduled to announce his decision. On Sunday, the school released a statement saying Roberson has decided to turn pro.

Roberson, a 6-7 forward, averaged 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game last season and was named All-Pac-12.

“We support Andre and want what’s best for him and his family,” head coach Tad Boyle said Sunday afternoon in a statement released by the school. “We wish him the best.”

Late Saturday, Detroit announced that McCallum, a point guard who was named the Horizon League player of the year, would enter the NBA draft.

Phils’ Ruiz returns from suspension

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz completed his 25-game suspension for a positive drug test and was activated form the restricted list on Sunday.

Ruiz, 34, had tested positive for an amphetamine after a career year in 2012 when he hit .325 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI in 114 games.

He was in the lineup and batted fifth on Sunday for the Phillies’ game against the New York Mets.

To make room for Ruiz on the 25-man roster, the Phillies designated catcher Humberto Quintero for assignment. Quintero had played in seven games and hit .250 with two RBI.

Vikings to sign Cris Carter’s son

Undrafted wide receiver Duron Carter, the son of 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Cris Carter, will sign with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent, ESPN reported.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Carter would join the team where his father played for 12 years of his 15 years in the NFL and set franchise records for receptions (1,004), yards (12,383) and touchdown catches (110).

Duron Carter was a part of four college football programs in four years, never staying more than one year at any stop.

He played for Ohio State, like his father, for one year in 2009 and had 13 receptions for 176 yards and one touchdown. He left Columbus because of academic reasons and spent one at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, where he caught 10 touchdown passes, before transferring to Alabama in 2011 but was never eligible there. He then moved on to Florida Atlantic last year and never saw the field there in a game.

Cris Carter, now an ESPN analyst, told USA Today before the draft that the reason for his son’s college difficulties stemmed from a dislike for school.

Rockies call up top prospect Arenado

The Colorado Rockies have promoted top prospect Nolan Arenado and designated third baseman Chris Nelson for assignment, according to the Denver Post.

Arenado, 22, is hitting .364 with three home runs and 21 RBI for Triple-A Colorado Springs. Known as a strong defensive third baseman, Arenado nearly made the team out of spring training and Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he would only be promoted to be a starter.

Arenado lived with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in spring training.

Nelson, the ninth overall pick in 2004, was hitting .242 with a double and two triples through 21 games. He also had three errors in 48 fielding chances. The team has 10 days to trade or release him.

He hit .344 with 18 extra-base hits after the All-Star break last season. The Post reported the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees have shown past interest in Nelson.

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