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Sports briefs for Sept. 20, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Gronkowski upgraded to questionable

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was upgraded to questionable on the team’s injury report Friday.

Gronkowski, who has not played since he was injured in the regular-season finale in December 2012 against the Miami Dolphins, had been listed as doubtful.

Gronkowski missed one month and five games last season between Nov. 22 and Dec. 23 with a broken forearm. He had multiple forearm and back surgeries in the offseason.

The Patriots take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. If Gronkowski does not play, he is likely to debut the following week at the Atlanta Falcons.

Gronkowski has not participated in full-contact drills and missed most of training camp recovering from the surgeries.

Jets-Patriots combine for $88,500 in fines

The New York Jets and New England Patriots combined for $88,500 worth of fines stemming from their Sept. 12 game.

A late-game fracas involving the two teams resulted in $72,750 worth of fines handed down by the NFL. Another fine for $15,750 was levied from a separate play earlier in the game.

The fourth-quarter incident, in which two players were ejected, started after a low hit from Jets center Nick Mangold was delivered on Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib.

Two players drew the biggest fines: Jets offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson was fined $15,000 for punching an opponent and guard Willie Colon was fined $34,125 — $26,250 for making contact with an official and $7,875 for punching an opponent.

49ers’ Smith arrested after crash

San Francisco 49ers pass rusher Aldon Smith was arrested Friday morning for suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession after he was involved in a crash, according to the Santa Clara County Sherriff’s Department.

Smith was the driver in a single-vehicle accident, according to San Jose Police. Nobody was injured in the crash. He was arrested at 7 a.m.

“At some point, they did a breath sample and it was over the limit,” San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol said. “He was not injured, and it does not appear as if anybody else was in the vehicle with him. And there were no other involved vehicles or reported injuries.”

The Bay Area News Group reported that marijuana and pills were also found in the car Smith was driving when he crashed into a tree. He also reportedly had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.15.

An NFL spokesman told the Bay Area News Group that such an arrest could result in a suspension, per league policy.

Smith’s bail was $5,250, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Yankees’ Pettitte to retire for second time

With nothing left to give, New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte will retire from Major League Baseball (MLB) for a second time at the end of the season.

The 41-year-old Pettitte, who is MLB’s all-time leader in playoff wins, is scheduled to pitch his last home game against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday and will likely start his final game next weekend in Houston, his hometown.

“I’ve reached the point where I know that I’ve left everything I have out there on that field,” Pettitte, who has a 10-10 record this season, said in a statement released by the Yankees. “The time is right. I’ve exhausted myself, mentally and physically, and that’s exactly how I want to leave this game.”

The three-time All-Star won 19 postseason games and was a key member of five World Series-winning teams with the Yankees. He also ranks first all-time in postseason starts (44) and innings pitched (276 2/3), and is second with 183 strikeouts.

Pettitte has a 255-152 career record with a 3.86 earned run average in 529 appearances (519 starts) with the Yankees (1995-2003, 2007-10 and 2012-13) and Houston Astros (2004-06).

His 218 wins with the Yankees rank third with the team, trailing only Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231).

Pettitte originally retired in February 2011 but decided the next season to return to the Yankees.

Lakers’ Bryant iffy for season opener

While he may be ahead of schedule in recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon, it is looking more unlikely that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will play in the preseason.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported Thursday that Bryant is still a few weeks away from running 100 percent on his own.

He was injured in April and recovery can take six to nine months.

Bryant’s rehab involves running at 75 percent of his body weight on a treadmill. Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti said Bryant is still a few weeks away from full-weight bearing running.

“He’s doing well and has had no setbacks,” Vitti said at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, Calif. “There’s no projected date. He’ll be ready when he’s ready. Nobody has a crystal ball on this thing.”

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