Ex-Patriots star Hernandez charged in prison fight

BOSTON — Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez was charged on Thursday with assaulting and threatening another inmate while in a Massachusetts prison awaiting his murder trial.

Hernandez, who played tight end for the New England Patriots, was jailed in June after being accused of gunning down another man in an industrial park near his house.

A grand jury in Bristol County indicted Hernandez on Thursday on charges of assault and battery and threats to do bodily harm stemming from an incident at the Bristol County House of Corrections in February, according to the district attorney’s office.

Hernandez is accused of repeatedly punching fellow inmate Andrew Booker after the two got into an argument in a hallway of the prison, Booker’s attorney said in March. Hernandez’s attorney was not immediately available to comment.

NFL’s Ray Rice pleads not guilty in assault case

NEW YORK — The National Football League’s Ray Rice, a Pro Bowl running back with the Baltimore Ravens, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a charge of assaulting his fiancée at a New Jersey casino.

Police arrested Rice, known for his advocacy against bullying, together with his fiancée, Janay Palmer, outside the Revel Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City in February.

Surveillance tape at the time was alleged to show the two hitting each other in one of the casino’s elevators, and Rice and Palmer both initially faced simple assault charges.

A grand jury indicted Rice on the more serious charge of aggravated assault in March, however, when the case against Palmer was dismissed.

If convicted, Rice could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

At his hearing in Atlantic County Superior Court in New Jersey on Thursday, Rice applied for a discretionary program for first-time offenders, according to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. Completion of the program could lead to the dismissal of Rice’s case, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Crosby, Getzlaf and Giroux named Hart finalists

— Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Claude Giroux were named on Thursday as the three finalists for the National Hockey League’s Hart Memorial Trophy.

The three Canadians were chosen by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association as the nominees for the most valuable player award, with the winner to be revealed in Las Vegas on June 24.

Crosby is the only one of the trio who has already won the Hart Trophy, with the Pittsburgh Penguins captain collecting the award in 2007.

Giants GM: Eli Manning out until July

Eli Manning will miss “spring ball” with the New York Giants recovering from ankle surgery.

General manager Jerry Reese said the Giants will not put Manning on the field until training camp commences. Manning had surgery April 10 and was told he would be limited to zero-gravity rehabilitation for at least six weeks.

“We want him back for the summer. We are not going to rush him,” Reese said.

Manning is one of five quarterbacks on the current roster.

He could be at a disadvantage, unable to work with a new offensive coordinator and adjusting to multiple personnel changes on the offensive line and at the skill positions.

Manning’s current recovery schedule has him pegged for light running by mid-May.