Sports briefs for Feb. 22, 2013

Posted Feb. 22, 2013, at 7:51 p.m.

U.S. sues Armstrong for sponsor money

WASHINGTON — The United States accused cyclist Lance Armstrong on Friday of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service by taking its sponsorship money at the same time he was doping and using performance-enhancing drugs in violation of cycling rules.

The government joined a civil suit against Armstrong, stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling in 2012 after accusations he had cheated for years. In January, he said the accusations were true in an interview with television host Oprah Winfrey.

A battle with the U.S. government over civil fraud charges threatens to sap what remains of the once-revered athlete’s reputation, and hurt his wallet.

Armstrong and his teammates from Tailwind Sports wore the logo of the U.S. Postal Service during their record-breaking wins.

“This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises,” Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., said in a statement.

The sponsorship money totaled more than $30 million, the government said.

Serious cut puts Jets’ Redmond out for the season

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Redmond is likely to miss the rest of the season after receiving a serious cut to his leg from a skate prior to Thursday’s game.

Redmond, 24, suffered a lacerated femoral artery and lost nearly two pints of blood, Jets head athletic therapist Rob Milette told the Winnipeg Sun.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years and that’s easily the most grave incident I’ve been a part of, for sure,” Milette said, according to the report. “Surgery went well. There were a lot of blood vessels that needed repair, along with all the surrounding tissue, the muscles.

“He’s doing well right now and we can only hope his recovery will be as good as the surgery went.”

Redmond received the cut during a morning skate when teammate Antti Miettinen skated over the back of the fallen Redmond’s leg during a drill.

Steve Garvey battling prostate cancer

Former Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres standout Steve Garvey is battling prostate cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Garvey, a 10-time All-Star and the 1974 National League MVP, told the Times his prostate was removed at UCLA Medical Center in October after his cancer was diagnosed in September.

Garvey, 64, made the announcement in a press release in which he stated he is putting up for auction several personal baseball items, including his MVP trophy. He said 70 percent of the proceeds with go toward prostate cancer awareness.

“I was thrown a pretty good curveball by God,” Garvey told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez. “I felt I was being challenged to work for prostate awareness for men and the women who love them.”

Garvey did not declare that he was completely out of the woods regarding his cancer, “but you want to be cautiously optimistic.”

Islanders waive goodbye to DiPietro

The New York Islanders placed goaltender Rick DiPietro on waivers on Friday, paying the price for what might go down as one of the most expensive gaffes in National Hockey League history.

DiPietro, taken with the number one overall selection in the 2000 NHL draft, was meant to be the cornerstone of a rebuilding franchise when he signed a then record 15-year, $67.5 million contract in 2006.

But a string of injuries and play that never came close to living up to the superstar expectations plus his massive salary have DiPietro headed to the minors if he clears waivers as expected and is not claimed by another team.

The 31-year-old American has eight-years and $36 million remaining on his deal.

DiPietro’s impending departure did not generate the same excitement as his arrival did in 13 years ago, the team offering a brief statement on its website “Rick DiPietro placed on waivers”.

Over 11 seasons DiPietro has a career record of 130-136-36 but in the last five seasons has just once won more than three games.

This season he has appeared in three games, losing all three while posting a 4.09 goals against average.

Jim Thome not ready to retire

Jim Thome is a 42-year-old free agent who’s probably headed for the Hall of Fame, but he’s not ready to retire.

No teams are expressing an interest in signing him at the moment, but FOXSports.com reports Thome would like to play this season and is heading to Arizona to get ready in case someone wants him,.

“My plan is to kind of stay in shape and see what happens,” Thome told Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.,com. “If a team calls for me, mentally, I want to know I’m ready to go.”

Thome’s duties would be restricted to that of a designated hitter and pinch-hitter, and he would probably need days off regularly to avoid injuries.

He plans to go to Phoenix early next week. If no team calls, he’ll bow out of the game.

“I said this to my wife: There is never a happy ending,” Thome said. “You can’t script it. You can’t look in the mirror and go, ‘I want to go out like Ray Lewis did. Or John Elway.’ You can’t script the perfect ending.”

Griffin III’s recovery ahead of schedule

Dr. James Andrews likes the progress that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has made in his recovery from knee surgery.

Andrews, the noted surgeon and Redskins team doctor, said Friday that Griffin is way ahead of schedule on his road to recovery from the major knee procedure performed last month. But he noted that there’s more work ahead.

“We’ve got him well on his way,” Andrews told NFL Network. “He is an unbelievable athlete as you well know. His recovery is way ahead of schedule so far. We don’t have to do much but try to hold him back, if you want to know the truth.

“Our whole mode for him, though, is to do what is best for his career, not necessarily what is best for the first game next season. So all of that has to be put on hold and let him get well.”

The Redskins said last week that they hoped to have Griffin back for the first week of the NFL season in September.

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