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Sports briefs for Oct. 11, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Former F1 test driver De Villota found dead

MADRID — Former Spanish Formula One test driver Maria de Villota, one of the few women to come close to the top of the sport but whose career was cut short by an horrific accident last year, was found dead in a hotel in Seville on Friday.

De Villota, who lost her right eye and fractured her skull at a test in England in July 2012, had apparently died of ‘natural’ causes, a Spanish police spokeswoman said.

“We are assuming it was a natural death, but we cannot confirm anything,” the spokeswoman said, adding that forensic scientists and a homicide unit would examine the scene.

De Villota’s sister Isabel was quoted as saying in local media later on Friday that the family had been told the 33-year-old had died in her sleep at about 6 a.m. local time as a result of neurological injuries she suffered in the crash.

Third Bucs player diagnosed with MRSA

A third Tampa Bay Buccaneers player was diagnosed with an MRSA infection, the team announced Friday.

Multiple media outlets reported that cornerback Johnthan Banks is the latest player infected.

Kicker Lawrence Tynes and guard Carl Nicks were previously diagnosed with MRSA, which is a type of staph infection resistant to some antibiotics.

After missing the first two games of the season, Nicks came back and played in two games before he was diagnosed with a recurrence in his left foot Thursday.

Tynes and Nicks were first affected in August. NFL.com reported that Nicks was back on medication, but his status for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles is not determined.

An infectious disease specialist is working with Nicks to control the latest episode.

Uncertainty remains over Bryant’s return

LOS ANGELES — Of all the uncertainties facing the Los Angeles Lakers as they prepare for their season opener later this month against the Clippers the biggest is the timetable for Kobe Bryant’s comeback from injury.

The 15-time All-Star shooting guard has been sidelined since mid-April with a torn left Achilles’ tendon and only recently returned from Germany where he had an innovative procedure on his arthritic right knee.

While Lakers fans would dearly love to know when they can expect to see their most influential player back in action, Bryant himself is unfazed about the exact timing of his return.

A’s pick up Crisp’s $7.5 million option

The Oakland A’s picked up the 2014 option for outfielder Coco Crisp, worth $7.5 million.

Crisp, 33, had a batting line of .261/.335/.444 with 22 doubles, 22 home runs, 66 RBI, 93 runs and 21 stolen bases this season. He established career highs in homers and runs.

If the A’s chose to decline the option, Crisp would have received a $1 million buyout and become a free agent.

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