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Sports briefs for Dec. 19, 2013

UM’s James, Perillo AP All-Americans

University of Maine seniors Kendall James and Justin Perillo on Thursday were named to The Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision All-America Team.

James, a cornerback, gained second-team honors while Perillo was an third-team selection. Each had been named to The Sports Network FCS All-America Team on Wednesday.

Red Claws recognize Coaching Boys Into Men

The Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League on Jan. 5, 2014, will recognize local high school coaches and athletes who are participating in the Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) program. The effort promotes the message that violence against women is never acceptable and is designed to bring those statistics down by inspiring young athletes to act with integrity, nonviolence, and respect.

The Red Claws have provided over 200 discounted tickets for CBIM athletes, coaches, families, and friends. Participants are invited to join players courtside during the pregame warm-up and shootaround at the Portland Expo.

Bryant back on sidelines for another six weeks

LOS ANGELES — Just 11 days after Kobe Bryant made his long-awaited return for the Los Angeles Lakers, the shooting guard will be out for about six weeks because of a knee injury, the team announced on Thursday.

The 35-year-old, who spent almost eight months on the sidelines with a torn left Achilles’ tendon before making his comeback on Dec. 8, hyper-extended his left knee during Tuesday’s 96-92 win against the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Bryant, a 15-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, had an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam on Thursday and was also examined by a team physician.

“Results of the MRI show that Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of his knee,” the Lakers said in a statement. “He is expected to be out approximately six weeks.”

Bryant’s latest injury comes as a major blow for the Lakers, who only last month signed the league veteran to a lucrative two-year contract extension.

Former Bears coach Smith interviews with Texans

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith was the first candidate to be interviewed to replace Gary Kubiak as the Texans’ head coach, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

Smith interviewed earlier this week, according to McClain.

Smith, 55, was fired after the Bears finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs in 2012. During his nine years with the Bears, Smith was 81-63, including 3-3 in the playoffs. His teams won three NFC North titles and lost Super Bowl XLI to Indianapolis.

Smith, a native Texan, hasn’t coached this year, but he plans to return next season.

Texans owner Bob McNair said immediately after firing Kubiak on Dec. 6 that Smith would be a candidate.

The Texans (2-12) have had a disappointing season after winning a combined 22 regular-season games combined over the previous two years. The Texans have lost their last 12 games.

James’ jersey the most popular

The NBA’s top-selling jersey is the No. 6 worn by league MVP LeBron James of the Miami Heat.

In sales rankings released Thursday from adidas and, James was ahead of Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, who was out during the early portion of the season recovering from Achilles surgery and now is lost for six weeks after fracturing his left knee during a game on Tuesday night.

The fourth-quarter sales figures account for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, which the NBA announced were record days.

It’s the fifth time that James has topped the league’s domestic jersey sales list. He also has the most popular jersey worldwide.

Olympic 1,500-meter champ Cakir cleared by Turkish chiefs

ISTANBUL — Olympic 1,500 meters champion Asli Cakir Alptekin has been cleared of doping violations, the Turkish athletics federation said in a statement on Thursday.

Cakir was provisionally suspended by the federation in May after abnormalities were detected in her biological passport, resulting in her missing the world championships in Moscow in August.

She had already served a two-year suspension in 2004 after a positive dope test at the world junior championships. A second offence could have resulted in a lifetime ban.

The governing International Association of Athletics Federations, however, said it had not yet received the full judgement on Cakir in English.

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