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Sports briefs for Nov. 8, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Bobcats coach Clifford hospitalized

Charlotte Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford was hospitalized Thursday night and had two stents placed in his heart, the team announced Friday.

Clifford, a Maine native, will not be available for the Bobcats home game against the Knicks on Friday night.

The team released a statement, which read, “While at dinner (Thursday) night, Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford suffered chest pains. He went to the hospital and was later admitted. After testing this morning, doctors concluded that a procedure was necessary to place two stents in his heart. He is resting comfortably and is expected to re-join the team soon.”

The Bobcats (3-2) host the New York Knicks Friday night. Assistant Patrick Ewing will likely take Clifford’s place.

Panthers fire coach, two assistants

The Florida Panthers fired head coach Kevin Dineen and assistant coaches Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay on Friday, according to multiple reports.

The Panthers are off to a 3-9-4 start to the season, and have gone seven games without a win.

General manager Dale Tallon met with the team after its 4-3 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, but was not ready to fire Dineen at that point.

The Panthers followed with a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday, leading to the coaches’ dismissals.

“After 16 games it was clear that our team needed a change in philosophy and direction,” Tallon said, according to NHL.com and the Miami Herald.

Peter Horachek will serve as interim coach.

Vonn says her comeback is nearly complete

VAIL, Colo. — Lindsey Vonn says she isn’t just ready to race again, she’s ready to win again.

The star of the U.S. Ski Team said Friday she is way ahead of schedule in her rehabilitation less than a year after suffering a severe knee injury at the World Championships in Schmalding, Austria.

Vonn tore ACL and MCL ligaments in her right knee last February as well as sustaining a tibial plateau fracture. She said her first post-surgery win might come later this month at a World Cup event in Beaver Creek near here. The races will include a downhill, super-G and giant slalom.

“My downhill is definitely not where I am on super-G,” Vonn said after a Friday morning downhill training session. “My super-G is some of the best super-G I’ve skied.”

So Vonn is saying she can win right now in that event?

“Yes,” she said, I’m saying that.”

Vonn, the defending Olympic downhill champion, is already the greatest female skier in U.S. Alpine history and needs only four World Cup wins to surpass Austria’s Annmarie Moser-Proll’s World Cup record of 62.

Broncos coach Fox released from hospital

Denver Broncos coach John Fox was released from a Charlotte, N.C., hospital Friday morning, the team announced.

Fox was staying at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute since having heart valve replacement surgery Monday.

“The encouragement I’ve received from (wife) Robin and my family, friends, the Denver Broncos, fans and so many around the NFL has been incredible,” Fox said in a statement. “I am truly thankful for every single thought and prayer that was directed my way.”

Jack Del Rio, the defensive coordinator, is coaching the Broncos in the interim. Denver travels to San Diego to play the Chargers on Sunday.

MRI confirms Ponder’s shoulder dislocated

Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that an MRI confirmed that Christian Ponder’s non-throwing left shoulder is dislocated.

Frazier said Ponder’s availability for the Vikings’ next game on Nov. 17 at the Seattle Seahawks will depend on how quickly the shoulder heals.

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